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The latest update as of July 20, 2024

NHRA Northwest Nationals logo

The 35th annual NHRA Northwest Nationals

10:00 am UPDATE

It's day two of the 2024 NHRA Northwest Nationals at Pacific Raceways. Another beautiful, albeit very warm, day is on tap for the racers and the thousands of avid drag racing fans. For the sportsman racers, who completed qualifying yesterday, it's a day of mixed emotions, as the win-lights bring either disappointment or elation as their early rounds of eliminations play out.

For the Top Alcohol cars, there's one final qualifying session, scheduled for high noon, but without the drama that could be associated with it as both fields are well short of capacity. However, fighting for the top spot(s) that bring the bonus of a bye run in the first round of eliminations could make for some interesting and entertaining performances in that final session.

Friday night's second qualifying session for the PRO cars saw some great performances, starting with Pro Stock bikes and cars. Almost everyone improved and the fields tightened considerably, with only one non-qualified racer (Joey Grose - Pro Stock) in the four classes. Neither nitro class was full, with 14 dragsters and 15 funny cars, while the bikes were shorter still with just 12 entries.

The much promoted Musco liighting did light up the track considerably, but unfortunately it didn't really help the photographers, with only very narrow windows of usable illumination for them. Or at least for the Northern Thunder staff photo-journalist. Tune into this page this evening to see what we were able to salvage from the night session. The grandstands weren't all full, specifically the very large stand on the tower side, but overall, it was one of the larger crowds seen at Pacific Raceways in quite a while.

By the time the bikes and cars finished their session and the track was prepped for the nitro burners, the track was in full darkness but the extra lighting took full effect and made for great viewing for the spectators. The fuel session led off with Funny Car and with the track temp cooled down to 100 (F), everyone was looking for some big jumps in performance and the low e.t. of the first session (3.97) to be eclipsed very quickly.

It didn't happen until the fifth car down the track, Paul Lee, who pounded out a very competitive 3.917 - 327.03 to jump to the top of the field. Unfortunately for Lee, everyone knew that number would be erased well before the end of the evening. But it didn't happen that quickly, as the next two pairs, which included some of the heavy hitters, failed to break into the 3-second zone.

Finally, the performance dam broke with a side-by-side 3-second race between Ron Capps and J.R. Todd with Capps' 3.886 - 331.53 taking the top spot, at least temporarily, as the final pair awaited their chance to shine. And shine he did, as Austin Prock did what has happened so many times over the years with the "Prock Rocket", whipping it to a brilliant 3.838 - 328.62 to put a large exclamation point on the #1 qualifying spot.

As the air and track temps continued to drop, expectations for what the Top Fuel cars could crank out were running high. The session didn't start that way though, as local "hard trier" Ron Smith made an on-and-off-and-on again pass that finally stopped the clocks just past the 5-second mark. Then things got much quicker as Tony Stewart wiped out the low e.t. (3.804) from the first session, breaking into the 3.70's with a strong 3.778 - 319.90 and moved to the top of the field.

That great run was followed by the next pair running side-by-side 7-second passes, but the pair after that pumped up the volume in a big way, with Jasmine Salinas and Shawn Reed running nearly identical 3.73's. Salinas also set a career best speed of 332.43 and took the #1 spot away from Stewart. At least until the next pair crossed the finish line.

It actually took two pairs for that to happen as Justin Ashley broke into the 3.60's with a new low e.t. of 3.694 - 331.04 to grab the top rung on the ladder, while Doug Kalitta, running alongside him, was very close with a 3.710 for the #2 position. Just two pairs remained to run, and the first of those pairs saw Steve Torrence trump Ashley's effort with an even better 3.688 at a new track record speed of 335.32. His e.t. was just three thousandths slower than the e.t. record set by Antron Brown six years ago.

Almost lost in the excitement of Torrence's great run was Brittany Force's otherwise excellent 3.701 - 333.08 that slotted her into #3 on the list. That brought up the final pair of the evening, the two quickest cars of the first session, and while they ran well with both drivers, Josh Hart and Antron Brown running 3.74's, they ended up 7th and 8th respectively.

And that was a wrap on the first day of the 2024 edition of the NHRA Northwest Nationals. All that remained was for the very large crowd to make their way out of the facility and prepare to come back for another day of drag racing at this storied facility. Despite the best efforts of local law enforcement and track workers, it was quite an ordeal traversing the exit lanes to Highway 18.

12:00 noon UPDATE

We had a bit of free time, 30 minutes worth, courtesy of a Super Gas oildown, so we took advantage of the down time to trek on over to the Top Alcohol pits and have a quick chat with Shawn Cowie. He confirmed that his seven-year tuning partnership with Norm Grimes ended at the start of this season on very amicable terms. They are still in regular contact, with Shawn asking Norm questions, and buying specialty parts from him, but Shawn is now ultimately responsible for all the tuning decisions on the car, with input from Nik (Duperon) and Tom.

The Mundie's Towing & Recovery team has been very competitive this year and will take over the top spot in the national standings at this race from Mike Coughlin, who is idle this weekend. As they prepare for the final qualifying session in an hour's time, and first round of eliminations in the late afternoon, the Cowie team is in the #1 position by a substantial margin.

As for the future, Shawn outlined his schedule for the balance of the season, with the only real question being: would he run at Reading or Charlotte? Since the air and track conditions at Reading are superior, he chose the Pep Boys NHRA Nationals. Following the Pennsylvania race it's on to Dallas (FallNationals), Las Vegas (Nevada Nationals) and Pomona (In-n-Out Burger Finals) to finish out the season, with a "tuneup" weekend at the Phoenix regional thrown in for good measure.

When asked about his future plans in the class, he unequivocally ruled out switching to A/Fuel, and said "I'd quit before I ran that combination". Looking at the Super Comp dragster of son James beside the big hot rod, he said they were just taking it one step at a time and not rushing to put him in an alcohol car. Whether that car would be a team car to Shawn's or taking over the driving chores of the alky dragster remains to be seen.

1:00 pm UPDATE

Right on schedule, despite an oildown from a Super Gas car, the Top Alcohol cars came up with the dragsters first, followed by the funny cars. It wasn't exactly an auspicious start as the first pair of A/Fuel cars didn’t do anything to write home about. Mike Quayle wasn't able to engage reverse after his burnout, was forced to shut off, then be pushed back behind the starting line. Running on a solo, Mitch Myers dropped a cylinder on the launch and blubbered his way to a 5.72, to lock himself into the #10 spot on the ladder, while Quayle sat at the bottom of the field in the 11th position.

Next up were Kim Parker and Mike Austin and they entertained the fans with a good side-by-side matchup, with Austin getting there first, 5.383 - 266.00 to Parker's close 5.436 - 261.02. The result left both drivers where they were, Parker in #8 and Austin 9th. An all A/Fuel pairing was next but it was some good: Casey Grisel with one of his quickest runs of the season at 5.316 - 276.18, and some bad: as Garrett Bateman smoked the tires early and failed to improve on his #4 qualifying spot.

More A/Fuel cars next, which wasn't surprising because 8 out of the 11 cars in the field were burning nitro. It featured the two best runs of the session - so far - with Trevor Larkin setting another career best for the third time in three runs, this time clocking 5.261 - 273.94, while Jackie Fricke improved on her earlier best, by one thousandth of a second, to a 5.281 - 273.55. Both drivers remained in their respective positions: Larkin #2 and Fricke #5.

The final pair of the round was an all blown alcohol affair with #1 qualifier Shawn Cowie facing #3 Jon Bradford. Both drivers fell off from their Friday best numbers, with Cowie still in the 5.20's at 5.276 - 276.75 - second quickest of the session - but still fastest. Bradford, on the other hand, gave up the chase early and slowed to a 5.432 at only 224.02 mph.

Notable by his absence from this final qualifying session was Joey Severance who put some serious smoke out of the pipes at the conclusion of his second run yesterday. There's no word if the damage was terminal, and we can only assume they wanted to be sure they had the parts to be competitive in eliminations. Skipping the session only cost them one position as Grisel eased past them and dropped them to #7 on the ladder.

The latest update as of July 19, 2024

NHRA Northwest Nationals logo

The 35th annual NHRA Northwest Nationals

12:30 UPDATE

Looks like I should have read the schedule a little closer and seen that Top Alcohol wouldn’t be coming out at 12:30 - or any time close to that - as we’re just getting ready to start the 2nd time trial for Super Street after a bit of cleanup of the first pair of Comp eliminator cars. It will be at least 2:00 before the blown alky and injected nitro cars get to do their thing. In case you’re wondering, yes, the air is getting worse by the minute as the sun is at it’s zenith.

Go Canada! After the first round of Top Sportsman qualifying, Canadian cars were occupying three of the top six spots on the list. Topping them all was Alberta’s Will Yakimetz with a very quick and fast 6.621 - 213.23 to hold down low e.t. by a tenth and top speed by six miles per hour. In a 22-car field, that’s a good grouping as they prepare for eliminations. With only more qualifying session early this evening before eliminations start tomorrow morning, it’s a good start for the “Great White North” brigade.


The first session of Top Alcohol qualifying came to a close with a whimper, not a bang, as the two highest rated cars in the field were in trouble almost instantly after they launched. Up until that point there had been a good mix of solid runs, a career best (Trevor Larkin), interspersed with tire shake and/or smoke and early shutoff runs. Thankfully, nobody deposited any parts or oil on the track and only a few cars exhibited signs of serious damage as they crossed the finish line.

The Funny Cars came out first and Mike Doushgounian got things going on a single run but he shook early, started skating around and clicked it to a 15-second clocking. The first pair saw side-by-side 5.5 times, with Stan Sipos stopping the timers first with a very good 5.501 - 265.64, after a wheels up launch, while Bret Williamson trailed only slightly with a solid 5.558 - 261.42 time.

The next pair wasn’t even close as Ray Martin shook, spun and pedalled before throwing in the towel with a 9-second pass. In the other lane, Annie Whiteley dropped into the 5.40’s with a brilliant 5.469 - 269.67 at nearly 270 mph to grab the top spot away from Sipos. The session ended with a highly anticipated match between Brian Hough and Madison Gordon. Gordon headed for the centreline on the top end, and clicked it to a 6.02, while Hough kept the hammer down to a good 5.553 - 266.95 to take the #3 spot on the ladder.

Switching to the dragsters, with another odd-sized (11-car) field, Mike Quayle brought out his Alberta-based A/Fuel car and launched hard but lost traction before the 330 ft mark and shut off to 9-something. The first pairing of the session was a blown versus injected match, with newcomer Jon Bradford in the Bob Button EFI car, making his national event debut. After running so well last week at Woodburn, with low 5.30's, he lost traction and shut off to a 5.843 - 226.67 as Trevor Larkin in Eric Chesleigh's A/FD took the top spot with a career best 5.312 - 267.53 pass.

Two A/Fuelers lined up next, and the beautifully wrapped Copeland Motorsports entry, driven by Kim Parker went up in smoke instantly and shut off. In the other lane, Mitch Myers ran well with a flashing up on the scoreboard. The second to last pair of the session saw another alcohol versus nitro match with both cars making good passes. Garrett Bateman in the Rick Henkelman owned and tuned car took over the #2 spot with a very good 5.382 - 273.61 (top speed so far), while Austin wasn’t far behind with a solid 5.439 - 265.72 pass.

Another alky vs nitro battle ensued, with Joey Severance, sporting a new look with a full J& A Services wrap, went up against the familiar green Darien & Grisel machine. Grisel went into instant tire smoke, while Severance made a strong run that ended with a lot of smoke out of the pipes at the finish line, but still clocked in at 5.358 - 268.92, good for at least a temporary hold on the #2 spot on the ladder.

The final pair of the session did their pre-race routine, and were preparing to stage when they were shut off due to an unexplained “off-track situation”. They both elected to return to the pits, cool down, refuel, adjust the clutch and come back after the Junior Dragsters and Jet Funny Cars had run. Unfortunately, the highly anticipated match went sour almost immediately, with instant tire smoke for Jackie Fricke in the John Finke New Jersey-based A/FD, while Shawn Cowie shook, pedalled, shook some more and finally gave up to an 8-second time. And that was a wrap on the first of three qualifying sessions for Top Alcohol.


We’ve finished the first round of PRO qualifying and the second go-round for the Top Alcohol cars. While the first five (alky) Funny Cars had trouble negotiating the hot tricky surface, the final pair showed that there was nothing wrong with the track. Leading the way was who improved on her great earlier timeslip with an even better 5.465 - 270.05. Nearly matching her wheel to wheel was Stan Sipos who dropped into the 5.40’s with a 5.487 - 267.37 to solidify his hold on the #2 spot on the ladder.

The dragsters that didn’t run well in the first session seriously picked up the pace in the second. First out of the lanes was Kim Parker who jumped into the #2 spot with a very good 5.347 - 268.92 to vault into #2 on the list. The first pair, both A/Fuel cars, made great side-by-side passes, with Casey Grisel bumping Parker down one spot as he ran 5.336 - 269.78. Leading Grisel at half track was Mike Quayle before he dropped a cylinder and slowed to a still good 5.410 - 243.24 as he picked up two spots.

The next pair were both disappointed with their first passes but more than made up for it in the second, with Shawn Cowie blitzing the timers with new low e.t. and top speed marks at 5.203 - 279.73, while Jackie Fricke wasn't far behind with an excellent 5.282 - 276.13 that took over the #2 spot, behind Cowie’s top qualifying effort.

And the hits just kept coming as the last three pairs of the round produced three runs in the 5.20's, two in the 5.30's, and the slowest run of the round was Mitch Myers decent 5.455 - 268.17. The first of the three pairs featured side-by-side 5.2 runs, with Jon Bradford bumping Fricke out of her #2 spot with career bests of 5.268 - 269.78. Just a couple of ticks behind at 5.270 - 274.00 was Garrett Bateman who inherited the #3 spot.

The next pair were both blown alcohol cars and both improved their positions by two spots, but Joey Severance couldn't be totally happy with his 5.320 - 269.35 as he was still not where he wanted to be on the tuneup. Mike Austin, on the other hand, had to be reasonably happy with his 5.376 - 267.91 pass. Closing out the session in a big way was Trevor Larkin who re-set his personal bests for the second time in one day, knocking half a tenth off his previous best with a great 5.265 - 269.83 to get back near the top of the heap in the #2 slot.

The latest update as of July 18, 2024

NHRA Northwest Nationals logo

The 35th annual NHRA Northwest Nationals

Compared to past years there isn’t a lot of Canadian racers entered in the NW Nationals. In the sportsman ranks (comp and lower), there’s 11 racers from BC, 11 from Alberta and one from Saskatachewan. In the Pro Sportsman classes, there’s a Top Alcohol Dragster from BC and one from Alberta. In Top Alcohol Funny Car there’s one Canadian racer, from Victoria, BC. In the Pro categories, there is no one from Canada.

There’s a Canadian racer in the winner’s circle on a regular basis, usually in one of the Super Classes, or Super Stock or Stock. But winning in the higher classes is a rarity, even with some very competitive Top Alcohol teams coming out of Canada. This year’s best bet to be on the podium has to be perennial contender Shawn Cowie from Surrey, BC. He’s currently second in the national points standings with a very good chance to take over the top spot this weekend.

His major obstacle to winning the event could be Jackie Fricke, who’s in the Top Ten, but there’s some very quick Northwest racers, like five-time national champion Joey Severance, and the injected nitro entries of Garrett Bateman and Kim Parker, both of whom have run in the 5-teens under the right conditions. In the 11-car field, just three racers are using the supercharged methanol option, Cowie, Severance and newcomer Jon Bradford from Arizona.

In the Alcohol Funny Car category, Stan Sipos has been competitive, but not dominating in his return to racing after a near 30-year absence. With top notch equipment and noted alcohol guru Les Davenport tuning, his return to a national event winner’s circle could happen before the end of the season. Unfortunately it probably won't be this weekend.

He might have a shot at winning this weekend with only eight cars entered, but he’s got some very tough competition in Madison Gordon who has picked up right where her father Doug left off when he retired at the end of last season. There’s two other Top Ten racers, Brian Hough and Ray Martin who will be tough to beat. Even though the field is small, there are some very quick cars entered and eliminations could see some very close racing.

We haven't got time to look at the Professional categories in this update, but there will be lots of news from them over the weekend. Stay tuned for updates!

The latest update as of July 15, 2024

NHRA Northwest Nationals logo

The 35th annual NHRA Northwest Nationals

NHRA.com has started looking at the Top Ten points earners in the PRO categories and reviewing their season(s) to date and offering a prognosis for the balance of the season. As the Northwest Nationals represents the start of the second half of the 2024 Mission Foods Drag Racing Series season, it's a somewhat pivotal event as one of the three remaining races before the Countdown to The Championship begins. Only the Pro Stock field will be full at Seattle, with 18 entries, while Pro Stock Bike has just 13 riders. In the nitro classes, Top Fuel has 14 entries, and Funny Car shows 16 drivers, but with one of them, John Force, obviously out of action for at least the balance of the season, there will only be 15 cars lining up to qualify.

While yesterday's feature on NHRA.com looked at the Top Fuel points race, one of today's features on the website summarizes the situation in Funny Car. We can expect to see similar stories on the Pro Stock classes tomorrow and Wednesday in the lead up to the start of the Northwest Nationals on Friday. Check out the Doug Kalitta Leads Charge story on Top Fuel, and the Prock has Commanding Lead Funny Car synopsis.

Below the professional categories, the Top Alcohol points races are starting to take shape, but with the majority of their national events, eight of thirteen (including Seattle) yet to run, the standings could change in a big way over the next few months. Conversely, on the regional schedule, thirteen of the 22 events on the schedule are already in the books. With just eleven entries in Top Alcohol Dragster at Seattle, and just two of them (Shawn Cowie and Jackie Fricke) in the Top Ten, there will almost certainly be some changes in the upper reaches of the standings. As long as Cowie makes a qualifying attempt, he will take over the points lead from Mike Coughlin, and Fricke could jump into the #3 spot if she can get past the first round of eliminations.

On the other side of the Alcohol pits, the Funny Cars are few in number, with just seven entries on the list. However, three of the top five drivers in the standings are in that group. While Greg Bellemeur could lose the points lead to rookie Madison Gordon, if she wins the Seattle event, the #4 and #5 drivers, Brian Hough and Ray Martin respectively, can only, at best, advance one spot in the standings. Two drivers who are currently outside the Top Ten, Annie Whiteley (#11) and Victoria, BC's Stan Sipos (#15) could make a serious move upwards with good performances at Seattle. Whiteley will move up to #7 in the standings by making a qualifying run, while Sipos would need to win the event to move into the top ten. However, with alcohol guru Les Davenport tuning and Sipos driving, they could make some Pacific Raceways magic before the weekend is over.

The latest update as of July 12, 2024

NHRA Northwest Nationals logo

The 35th annual NHRA Northwest Nationals

One week from today, the Northwest Nationals begins with four qualifying sessions for all four PRO categories, including what is being played up as a monumental step forward for Pacific Raceways as they will be running the nitro burners under the lights on Friday night. Of course there's been lots of blown fuel racing at the track in the past, at night, and often late into the night, but never before at an NHRA national event at Seattle. We still haven't seen an entry list for the race, which is rather strange this close to an event, but maybe on Monday when entries close, one will magically appear at nhra.com.

In the leadup to the race, there's been very interesting stories on the internet, with Competition Plus leading off with yesterday's Move Over Wrigley Field - Pacific Raceways Will Be Racing Under The Lights. It details how the temporary Musco lighting for this event was arranged as a joint effort between Pacific Raceway's Jason Fiorito, PRO (Professional Racers Organization), with Chad Head coordinating, and the NHRA. All three parties are excited about the possibilities the professional lighting will bring, and expectations are high for a sell-out crowd on Friday evening.

Today, the NHRA National Dragster editor Phil Burgess posted a piece detailing the history of NHRA national event racing in Seattle, starting with the ill-fated Fallnationals in 1975, at what was then named Seattle International Raceway. The event only ran for six years, concluding in 1980, before being resurrected in 1990 with the mid-season Northwest Nationals. Burgess went into detail about each running of the Fallnationals, with my personal highlight being the 27 Top Fuel cars that attempted to qualify at the inaugural event. Twenty-seven cars at an event way up in the northwest corner of the country! My goodness, that's about as many fuelers that exist nowadays, let alone gathering for a far-flung event in a new market.

Check out Phil's story Seattle and the Fallnationals: A history of drama, intrigue, and points battles.

We expect to see more Northwest Nationals related stories posted over the next week, so stay tuned to see what develops on that front.

The latest update as of July 9, 2024

NHRA Northwest Nationals logo

The 35th annual NHRA Northwest Nationals

After a three week break in national event action; the longest of the season until a similar break between the DENSO NHRA Sonoma Nationals and the Lucas Oil NHRA Nationals (Brainerd), the NHRA Mission Foods Drag Racing Series kicks into action at Pacific Raceways from July 19 to 21. With all four PRO categories in attendance for the first time at Seattle, and the Top Alcohol classes in competition it's going to be quite the show. And for another first, at least the first time planned, there will be night time qualifying for the NITRO cars on Friday night. It's certainly going to be one of those "BE THERE!" evenings.

After many trips to SIR (Seattle International Raceway), and the renamed facility (Pacific Raceways) over five decades, and seeing first hand, from the grandstands, from inside my dragster, and from the photographers area, I'm interested to see just how much light they can cast on what was so often a brightly lit starting line that quickly faded into almost total darkness by the finish line. With FOX sports television cameras on hand I'm sure there will be the best lighting ever seen at the facility.

We're still waiting to see an entry list to get an idea of just how big the show will be, but with the annual "Western Swing" reduced to just two races on back-to-back weekends on the West Coast there may be short fields in a few categories. We can only hope that the Bandimere family can make good on their promise to build a new track in the Denver area. It appears as though that might be quite a ways in the future, as progress on procuring a site to build on has been slow to this point.

More news on the 2024 NHRA Northwest Nationals tomorrow, and a look back at previous Northwest Nationals events is coming up over the next week. As always: stay tuned!

The latest update as of June 25, 2024


The latest update from FUNNY CAR CHAOS

Following the fourth of six points-earning events this season, the FCC standings saw some major and minor changes. Remaining on top as he has since the third race at Penwell Knights Raceway is former two-time champion Kirk Williams. In fact, he increased his lead from ONE to 15 points in the process. Jumping up to 2nd on the chart was long-time regular Chris Schneider who moved up from #5, and picking up ground to 4th (from #6) was Jade Cook. The largest move on the list was Justin Herbst, just competing in his second race of the season, who moved from #43 all the way to #20.

On the down(s)lide were Chuck Loftin who dropped from second down to #5. With the top 11 racers having attended every race to this point, and just two points earning events left on the schedule, it's going to be critical for the competitors to maximize their championship by attending both of those events. However, with the "drop race" system employed by Funny Car Chaos (where each racer drops their lowest scoring event, or non-attended event), the missed race won't necessarily hurt anyone's championship chances. There were numerous other changes in the standings, mostly due to not attending the Cordova race, but anyone not already in the top ten or twelve spots have virtually no chance of winning the 2024 FCC title, and anyone below the top twenty at this point are definitely going to be out of the bonus money going to the Top Ten racers.

Here's the latest updated Top Ten standings for the Chaos Crew: (with pre-entries for Albuquerque listed)

FCC Top Ten Points Standings as of June 22, 2024

SECRET photo taken at Northern Thunder headquarters

TOP SECRET photo taken from Northern Thunder Headquarters

As you can plainly see, there's nobody at the desk, working on the website. No wonder there aren't any updates happening this week. Next week isn't looking that much better either. As always: STAY TUNED!

The latest update as of June 20, 2024

Cordova Dragway Summer Nationals

FUNNY CAR CHAOS - Eliminations Round #1 - "A" Field

When the smoke had cleared after three hard fought qualifying sessions, there were several wounded beyond repair cars in the pits. Highest qualified car to drop out was "The Heckler" of Kevin Newburgh, as he relinquished his #10 spot near the top of the "B" field. Also staying in the pits was Mary Reep as the "Grim Reeper" #11 in the field also reported in damaged. Filling their spots were first alternated Danny Mann and second alternate Mike Buchanan.

The last alternate to gain admission to eliminations was #35 qualifier, Rick Stockman, who brought his "Hell Raiser" into the top spot in the "D" field, filling in for Jeff Krug and his still being sorted out blown fueld combination in the "Obsession" entry. With all the changes out of the way, it was time to make some serious as the "A" field led off eliminations. And it was a tough field indeed, with a bump spot of 3.817 (Lance Van Hauen). Even the "B" field was mostly 3-second cars, with five of the eight cars in that group qualifying under the 4.00-second mark.

Kirk Williams - '200 Proof' (near lane) vs 
Ray Drew - 'Cobra' (far lane) --- Dave Hirata - 'Drastic Plastic' (far lane) vs 
Bill Bernard - 'The Grinder' (near lane) mostly obscured

(LEFT) Leading off eliminations were the #2 and #6 qualifiers as FCC runs on a sportsman ladder, unlike the more traditional pro ladder as NHRA uses for the fast cars. Ray Drew had his "Cobra" off the line first in the far lane, but it was courtesy of an -.024 redlight, making Kirk Willims in the near lane the automatic winner. It was a fortunate bit of luck for Williams as the "200 Proof" entry stumbled badly and shut off to a 6.591 - 89.32, while Drew wasted a decent 4.165 - 189.98 in the losing effort.

(RIGHT) Second out of the lanes were low qualifier, Dave Hirata and #5 Bill Bernard. With a full three tenths advantage in qualifying e.t.'s, it was almost certainly Hirata's race to win, and he didn't disappoint with a very strong 3.462 - 216.31 from the Motry family's "Drastic Plastic". Almost obscured in the near lane was Bernard's "Grinder", which left first, and made its best run of the weekend at 3.683 - 205.79, but came up a few car lengths short at the finish line.

Lance Van Hauen - 'Van Hauen Brothers' (far lane) 
vs Robbie Massey - 'Moats & Massey' (near lane) --- Robbie Massey - 'Moats & Massey'

Photos posted courtesy of FUNNY CAR CHAOS

(LEFT) The next pairing featured the closest match of the first round. It featured #4 qualifier Robbie Massey and #8 Lance Van Hauen. With both cars running NHRA Top Alcohol equipment and capable of running in the 3.70's or better, it promised to be a good matchup. Massey took the winlight due to his much quicker .032 to .123 reaction. On the scoreboards the verdict was much closer with Massey one thousandth quicker at 3.797 - 198.73 to Van Hauen's 3.798 - 198.58 quicker.

(RIGHT) Here's a closer look at Massey's car in full flight just past the 60 foot clocks.

Shayne Lawson - 'Man O' War II' (near lane) vs 
Jim Chase - 'Wicked Quick' (far lane) --- Shayne Lawson - 'Man O' War II'

(LEFT) A mix of new-ish and definitely old-school cars came up next, with #3 qualifier Shayne Lawson in the "Man O' War II" Mustang, in the near lane facing the '55 Chevy of Bismarck, ND's Jim Chase in the very cool "Wicked Quick" entry. It was a wild race when the lights went green, as Chase left first with a great .016 light, but drove into tire smoke instantly. In the near lane Lawson went up, up and almost away as his went into a big wheelie but still recovered to post an extremely good 4.024 - 192.00 that easily disposted of Chase's 8.567 - 48.77 timeslip.

(RIGHT) Here's an even closer look at Shayne Lawson's serious wheelstand action. Hard to believe that he could bring it down quickly, stand on the throttle and nearly make a 3-second run to boot.

FUNNY CAR CHAOS - Eliminations Round #1 - "B" Field

Chris Schneider - 'Brutus' (near lane) vs 
Danny Mann - 'Pony Up' (far lane) --- Bob Alberty Jr. - 'Thunderin' Okie' (near lane) vs 
Chuck Loftin - 'Bucket List (far lane)

(LEFT) With the two dropouts (due to breakage), "B" field eliminations opened with first alternate Danny Mann (far lane) facing #14 qualifier Chris Schneider (near lane) in the John Troxel owned and tuned "Brutus" entry. As can be easily seen in the photo, Mann didn't give his "Pony Up" Mustang much "giddy up" off the line, finally stopping the reaction timers at .417. That was pretty much the end of the story, but Schneider added injury to insult with a much quicker and faster 4.141 - 175.32 to Mann's weaker 4.985 - 136.50 losing effort.

(RIGHT) The next pairing showed another early advantage as Bob Alberty Jr. in the beautifully painted "Thunderin' Okie" (near lane) quickly pulling into a substantial lead over Chuck Loftin in the "Bucket List" car. Besides leaving a tenth behind Alberty, Loftin shut off early to a 6.511 - 76.02 clocking. Alberty nearly matched his qualifying time (3.831) with a very strong 3.835 - 191.00 winning pass.

Mike Minick - 'Chi-Town Hustler' (near lane) vs 
Rodger Eckhardt - 'Demon Hunter II' (far lane) --- Mike Minick - 'Chi-Town Hustler'

(LEFT) Next up was a rather weird pairing with Rodger Eckhardt in his ultra-cool Demon Hunter II" '67 Nova in the far lane facing the totally iconic Chi- Town Huster" of Mike Minick. The Hustler dates back to nearly the beginning of the Funny Car, and making this tribute car even more legit, the son of the original driver, Pat Minick, still owns and drives it. Eckhardt left late but finished first, overcoming a nearly comatose .314 reaction time, but stopping the timers with a decent 4.381 - 123.84 for the win. Minick left with a decent reaction time of .091, but ran into serious directional trouble instantly, heading for the centerline.

(RIGHT) This photo shows a closer look at Minick's misfortune, as the car is heading straight for the A-board, with the steering wheel presumably cranked fully to the right, but the car not responding to the directional input. Minick lifted almost immediately and coasted to an 11.179 - 47.37 losing time.

Casey Geeslin - 'The Gambler' (near lane) vs 
Mike Buchanan - 'Hombre' (far lane)

The round closed with the second alternate, Mike Buchanan, invited to the dance to replace the broken entry of Kevin Newburgh. Buchanan occupied the far lane in his Vega-bodied "Hombre". In the near lane was the familiar "Gambler" Camaro of Casey Geeslin. The cars left nearly together, despite the disparity that the photo appears to show, but Geeslin pulled away quickly and turned on the winlight with a strong 4.015 - 182.38, while Buchanan trailed with a good 4.375 - 170.45 that wasn't enough to stay with Geeslin's nearly 3-second clocking.

FUNNY CAR CHAOS - Eliminations Round #1 - "C" Field

Alex Barker - 'Back in Black' (near lane) vs 
Bill Naves - 'Shooting Star' (far lane) --- Jade Cook - 'Nemesis'

(LEFT) The "C" field became the first of the "indexed" fields, with the top qualifying number (4.098) becoming a 3.948 index. There have been breakouts on an occasional basis but it wasn't likely with nearly everyone running close to their potential during qualifying. Leading the way was Bill Naves in his well-appointed "Shooting Star" entry (far lane), while the mostly obscured "Back In Black" entry of Alex Barker" occupied the near lane. Although Barker reacted half a tenth quicker than Naves, he gave up that advantage early as Naves took out the higher qualified car with his quickest run of the weekend (by nearly two tenths), with a solid 4.124 - 176.21 over the competitive, but not quick enough 4.444 - 161.81 of Barker.

(RIGHT) We've only got one car to show from the next pair, as Tom Furches broke before staging and gave Jade Cook (pictured) a competition bye in her Dodge Avenger-bodied "Nemesis" entry. It appeared that she shut off early on her qualifying passes with a best speed of only 138.43, but her 4.136 - 170.73 was far and away her best pass of the weekend to this point as she advanced to the semi-final round.

Dennis Rotter - (near lane) vs 
Joe Pironne - 'Super Camaro' --- Joe Pironne - 'Super Camaro'

(LEFT) A full pair lined up next, with Joe Pirrone in the far lane, now driving the "Super Camaro" (formerly in the "Screaming Eagle", facing Dennis Rotter in the near lane. It was close off the starting line, with Pirrone holding only a slight edge, but he opened up a substantial lead by the finish line, stopping the clocks with a much improved (over his qualifying 4.311), and winning, 4.082 - 179.97. Keeping it close-ish, but not close enough was the losing 4.190 - 174.37 effort of Rotter.

(RIGHT) Here's a closer view of Pirrone's new ride, the early model "Super Camaro", which replaced the later-model Screaming Eagle entry.

Wayne Hofmann - 'China Syndrome'

Closing out the round was the top qualifier in the "C" field, Wayne Hofmann in the "China Syndrome". He did have an opponent in the near lane, even though we don't have a photo of Justin Malott in his "Must Be Nice" '57 Chevy. Hofmann won the reaction battle with a briliant .017 to Mallott's very good .040, then expanded the lead all the way to the stripe with a 4.105 - 172.39 to easily cover Mallott's trailing 4.353 - 140.87. The numbers show an early shutoff so it might have been a close race for a while.

FUNNY CAR CHAOS - Eliminations Round #1 - "D" Field

Rick Stockman - 'Hell Raiser' (near lane) vs 
Neil Girot - 'Twist 'n Shout --- Rick Stockman - 'Hell Raiser'

(LEFT) Bringing up the end of the round were the "D" fielders, a collection of racers that qualified between 4.338 and 4.922, and running on an index of 4.188 seconds. The top qualifier, Jeff Krug in his now nitro-burning "Obsession" entry wasn't able to make the call and was replaced by the 3rd alternate, Rick Stockman in the "Hell Raiser". Coming out first was.... Rick Stockman (near lane), facing Neil Girot (far lane) in his "Twist 'N Shout" entry. On the green Girot literally leaped into an early lead with an .025 reaction time to Stockman's much later .399 light. Despite the wheelstand, Girot was able to bring the car down safely and sped away to a winning 4.318 - 162.94, while Stockman trailed badly with a shutting off 6.095 - 88.22 mph run.

(RIGHT) Here's a closer look at Rick Stockman's still unpainted "Hell Raiser". Nowhere to be seen as he's so far ahead is opponent Neil Girot.

Michael Neal - 'Burnin' Love'

This appears to be the only other photo was from the first round of "D" field eliminations, showing Michael Neal burning out in the aptly named "Burnin' Love" Nova. He came out on the losing end of his race against Jordan Ballew (not shown), losing with a slowing 5.408 - 130.39. Ballew turned on the winlight with a much quicker 4.470 - 157.54, despite a rather sluggish reaction time.

In the other two races of the round, Justin Herbst took an unopposed win in his "Scorpion" Vega as opponent Joe Morrison in the "Hell Bound" entry broke before staging. Herbst slowed a little from his qualifying time but posted a decent 4.505 - 139.23 for the win. In the final match of the round, Howard Seldon picked up a win via Kris Battey's redlight start. Even with the foul start advantage, Battey still crossed the finish line second with a 4.618 - 157.50, trailing Seldon's winning 4.399 - 151.39 time.

FUNNY CAR CHAOS - Eliminations - Semi-Finals

Dave Hirata - 'Drastic Plastic' (near lane) 
vs Shayne Lawson - 'Man O' War II' (far lane) --- Rodger Eckhardt - 'Demon Hunter II' (near 
lane) vs Chris Schneider - 'Brutus' (far lane)

(LEFT) There's not a lot of photos from the semi-finals, as there was one no-show and another car broke before staging, so we've bunched everything together. First is the one pairing in the semis showing - TO BE CONTINUED


joe Pirrone - 'Super Camaro' (near lane) vs 
Wayne Hofmann - 'China Syndrome' (far lane) --- Bill Naves - 'Shooting Star' (near lane) vs 
Jade Cook - 'Nemesis' (far lane)



Jordan Ballew - 'Ballew Thunder' (near lane) 
vs Justin Herbst - 'Scorpion' (far lane) --- Neil Girot - 'Twist 'N Shout'




Robert River (near lane) vs Jerry Eckman 
- 'Pennzoil' tribute car (far lane) --- Kevin Lawrence - 'AC-Delco' tribute car



Neil Girot - 'Twist 'N Shout' (near lane) 
vs Justin Herbsdt - 'Scorpion' (far lane) --- Jade Cook - 'Nemesis



Bob Alberty Jr. - 'Thunderin' Okie' 
(near lane) vs Chris Schneider - 'Brutus' (far lane) --- Dave Hirata - 'Drastic Plastic' (near lane) 
vs Kirk Williams - '200 Proof' (far lane)



The latest update as of June 18, 2024

Cordova Dragway Summer Nationals

The Summer Nationals at Cordova Dragway

FUNNY CAR CHAOS - Qualifying Session #1

Dave Hirata - 'Drastic Plastic' --- Howard Seldon - 'The Proclaimer'



Mike Minick - 'Chi-Town Hustler' --- Mike Minick - 'Chi-Town Hustler'

Justin Herbst - 'Scorpion' --- Michael Neal - 'Burnin' Love'



Neil Girot - 'Twist 'N Shout' --- Mike Buchanan - 'Hombre'



Robbie Massey - Moats & Massey' --- Ray Drew - 'Cobra'



Bill Bernard - 'The Grinder' --- Jeff Krug - 'Obsession'



Bob Alberty Jr. 'Thunderin' Okie' --- Kevin Newburgh - 'The Heckler'



Joe Morrison - 'Hell Bound' --- Joe Pirrone - 'Super Camaro'



Jim Chase - 'Wicked Quick' (near 
lane) vs Jade Cook - 'Nemesis' (far lane) --- Wayne Hofmann - 'China Syndrome' 
(near lane) vs Bill Naves - 'Shooting Star' (far lane)



Tom Furches - 'Made in America' 
(near lane) vs Justin Mallott - 'Must Be Nice' (far lane) --- Dustin Bradford - 'American Dream' 
(near lane) vs Rodger Eckhardt - 'Demon Hunter II' (far lane)



Danny Mann - 'Pony Up' --- Rebel From Hell - #5426 A/FX



FUNNY CAR CHAOS - Qualifying Session #2

Jet Cars - 'Wonder Woman' 
(near lane) vs Josh Kreuder - 'Captain America' (far lane) --- Chris Schneider - 'Brutus'



Jordan Ballew - 'Ballew Thunder' --- Howard Seldon - 'The Proclaimer' 
(near lane) vs Mike Buchanan - 'Hombre' (far lane)



Mary Reep - 'Grim Reeper' --- Lance Van Hauen - 'Van Hauen Bros' (near lane) 
vs Wayne Hofmann - 'China Syndrome' (far lane)



Alex Barker - 'Back In Black' (near 
lane) vs Joe Pironne - 'Super Camaro' (far lane) --- Jade Cook - 'Nemesis'



Kris Battey - 'Batmobile' (near lane) vs 
Robbie Massey - 'Moats & Massey' (far lane) --- Bob Alberty Jr. - 'Thunderin' Okie'



Dustin Bradford - 'American Dream' --- Justin Malott - 'Must Be Nice'



Chuck Loftin - 'Bucket List' ---



Rodger Eckhardt - 'Demon Hunter II' --- Dennis Rotter -



FUNNY CAR CHAOS - Qualifying Session #3 (FINAL)

After a pair of hard fought qualifying sessions on Friday night, the 38 cars in attendance faced off to see who was going into eliminations, and who was going home. At the top of the heap were the "A" field runners, which ran from "top dog" Dave Hirata in the Motry Family blown fuel Mustang. His 3.454 e.t. was well ahead of the rest of the field, with #2 runner, Kirk Williams nearly a quarter of a second slower in his "200 Proof" entry. The bump spot for the "A" field was a seriously stout 3.894 - 172.39 held by Mary Reep in her "Grim Reeper".

The "B" field numbers ranged from #1 qualifier Chuck Loftin clocking in at 3.980 -173.96 and at the bottom of the group, Robbie Massey" with a very decent 4.147 - 139.83. Lower down were the "C" field with the eight qualifiers spread between Alex Barker's 4.186, down to Kris Battery's 4.442 e.t. And at the tail end were the "D" fielders, starting with Neil Girot at 4.454 and finishing with defending series champion Tom Furches at 5.124 - 143.78. On the outside, and desperate to get in to eliminations were series regulars Mike Buchanan, Dustin Bradford, and the blown fuel entry of Vic Tiffin.

Chris Schneider - 'Brutus' (near lane) vs 
Justin Herbst - 'Scorpion' (far lane) --- Wayne Hofmann - 'China Syndrome''



Jade Cook - 'Nemesis' --- Tom Furches - 'Made in America'



Mike Minick - 'Chi-Town Hustler' --- Dustin Bradford - 'American Dream'



Bill Bernard - 'The Grinder' --- Ray Drew - 'Cobra'



Howard Seldon - 'The Proclaimer' --- Joe Morrison - 'Hell Bound'



Kevin Newburgh - 'The Heckler' ---  Robbie Massey - 'Moats and Massey' (near lane) 
vs Dennis Rotter (far lane)



Dave Hirata - 'Drastic Plastic'

The Mullet Machine - Wheelie Van --- Jordan Ballew (near lane) vs Ryan Oehler (far lane)



'Beat The Heat'

The latest update as of June 17, 2024

It's been a bit of an up and down season for Shawn Cowie as he embarks on another chapter in his 18-year career in NHRA Top Alcohol Dragster racing. It's been a long road from his very first appearance in Top Alcohol at Mission Raceway Park in May of 2007. He debuted in a car formerly driven by Hillary Will, built by Rick Santos, and tuned by the "Northwest Hitter" himself, Bucky Austin. His very first qualifying pass netted an awesome 5.363 - 271.65 that slotted him into the #2 spot on the ladder.

Shawn Cowie - First qualifying pass in 
Top Alcohol Dragster

Shawn forced his way into the top spot with a quicker 5.330 in the final qualifying session, and advanced to the final round, where he lost a close one to Thomas Bayer, driving the Steve Federlin car. However, Cowie got his revenge over the Federlin family team, starting from the #4 qualifying spot and going all the way to the final where he beat Bayer with a strong 5.435 - 263.15 over Bayer's blower banging 7-second pass.


Shawn Cowie 
(near lane) vs Johnny Ahten (far lane) - Top Alcohol Dragster final round

Shawn Cowie

Shawn Cowie --- Shawn Cowie

The latest update as of June 16, 2024

Cordova Dragway Summer Nationals

The Summer Nationals at Cordova Dragway

After the unfortunate weather cancelled Eddyville race, the FUNNY CAR CHAOS crew got back on track - literally - at Cordova Dragway for the fourth event of the 2024 season. Great weather, large crowds, and 38 nitro and alky burning Funny Cars filled the pits, and qualifying saw all four fields full to overflowing. Star of the show, hands down, was the "Drastic Plastic" of Tom Motry, with "rookie" blown fuel driver Dave Hirata at the wheel. They brought the house down with a tremendous 3.454 - 227.38 pass on Friday night. Those numbers weren't bettered all weekend, and in the "A" field final, Hirata met the #2 qualifier, Kirk Williams in the Williams Bros. "200 Proof" entry. It was a great race but the big bad blown fuel car prevailed in an epic matchup.

Dave Hirata - 'Drastic Plastic' (near lane) vs 
Kirk Williams - '200 Proof' (far lane)

With the flames reaching over the roof, the "Drastic Plastic" (near lane) blasts off to the "A" field win, with Dave Hirata driving, while Kirk Williams gives it a good try in the "200 Proof" in the far lane. Williams was a worthy final round opponent, clocking the second best e.t.'s of the event, and qualifying #2 with an excellent 3.678 - 207.62 on Friday.

Chris Schneider - 'Brutus'

Prevailing in the "B" field was Chris Schneider in the John Troxel owned and tuned "Brutus" '71 Mach I Mustang tribute to the late Lew Arrington.

In the other eliminators, multi-time event winner Jade Cook put her "Nemesis" Dodge Avenger into the winners circle in the "C" field, while long-time FCC competitor Justin Herbst won the "D" field in his "Scorpion" Vega entry.

We'll have much, much more in the way of photos and details throughout the coming week. Stay tuned for them!

The latest update as of May 22, 2024

2nd annual Chaos in The Cornfield CANCELLED

2nd annual Chaos in The Cornfield - CANCELLED

Yesterday afternoon, while we were busy with our report on Nathan Sitko's victory at Firebird Raceway... this coming weekend's major FUNNY CAR & NITRO CHAOS event at Eddyville Raceway Park was cancelled. Even worse news is that will not be rescheduled for 2024. At least our photographer, BIG Bob Snyder was able to cancel his flight and hotel reservations and save a lot of wasted time and money for an event that was almost certain to be rained out. Here is the official word from series director Chris Graves on the official Funny Car Chaos Facebook page.

The difficult decision has been made to cancel the Chaos in the Cornfield event scheduled for this Friday through Sunday, May 24-26, at Eddyville Raceway Park, Oskaloosa, Iowa.

Multiple factors have come into play that led to the decision to cancel the event that include the recent amount of rainfall, the expected rainfall Tuesday and Tuesday evening and the weather forecast for Friday through Sunday, which in most cases is calling for more than an inch of additional precipitation during that period. The grounds were marginal this past weekend and the additional rain received since then combined with what is expected Tuesday and Tuesday night will likely make the spectator parking lot and motorhome camping areas unusable.

An event of this size is an incredible undertaking and this decision was not made easily by the owners of Eddyville Raceway Park and the Funny Car/Nitro Chaos Series. Small business operators are facing more obstacles and challenges than ever before and taking a financial risk of this magnitude with the cards stacked against it, isn't a wise decision. With advertising and promotional expenses that have already occurred, moving forward could be like adding gasoline to a smoldering fire. We know that this decision affects racers, fans and sponsors as well and we understand the disappointment it's caused, but truly believe it's in everyone's best interest.

All advance tickets and motorhome/camping spots purchased will be refunded in a three to ten day period per the ticketing companies operations manager. This event will also NOT be rescheduled for this year.

The latest update as of May 21, 2024

2nd annual Chaos in The Cornfield

2nd annual Chaos in The Cornfield

It's almost time for the fourth (of nine) on the action-packed FUNNY CAR CHAOS calendar for the 2024 season. And it's another double Chaos, with the NITRO CHAOS crowd joining in at Eddyville Raceway Park. It' so big that it's going to take three full days to get every eliminator completed. In a departure from the normal schedule, there will be just one qualifying session for the chaos cars on Friday evening, then two sessions on Saturday, followed by a full day of eliminations on Sunday.

There will be three full fields of Funny Car Chaos contestants, with 28 cars pre-entered, and two fields of Nitro Chaos racers, with 17 cars on the roster. Add in a host of sportsman eliminators, jet cars and other attractions on Memorial Day Weekend and it will be one of the highlights of the drag racing season. Best of all: we've got our Road Warrior "par excellence" "BIG" Bob Snyder heading east as this is being written, ready to capture all of the action with his trusty brace of Nikon cameras.

The only downside is that there is no video - that we know of - being shot for public use since FLOracing pulled the plug on broadcasting Funny Car Chaos events. However, the qualifying sheets and eliminations are posted on the FCC website and we can fill in most of the blanks to put together the story that goes with all the photos we will be receiving over the weekend and into next week. Stay tuned for all of that... and more!

53rd annual Ignitor Nitro Opener

53rd annual Ignitor Nitro Opener

This past weekend saw one of the most iconic drag racing events in the Pacific Northwest take place at Boise (Eagle) ID's Firebird Raceway. It was a combination NHRA Division 6 Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series race, plus a Hot Rod Heritage Racing Series event with Nitro Nostalgia Funny Cars on hand. Stealing the show, as always, were the blown fuel floppers, as 14 of the nitro nasties took part. Qualifying was absolutely cut-throat with an ultra-tough 5.75 bump spot, and two alternates in the 5.70's, followed by two more in the 5.80's.

Among the notable non-qualifiers were Drew Austin, Tim Boychuk, Kamaka Pocock, and Jerry Espeseth, among others. Top qualifier James Day led the field with an awesome 5.56- 259.81, followed closely by Edmonton, AB's Nathan Sitko with a very strong 5.63 - 252.95 in the Ron Hodgson-owned "Pacemaker" entry. Defending multi-time series champion Bobby Cottrell in Bucky Austin's Camaro was all the way down in the #5 spot with a very good 5.70 - 252.61 clocking.

The awesome-ness didn't stop with qualifying as Stiko laid down a virtual bomb on the rest of the field in the first round of eliminations, breaking both ends of the track record with an incredible 5.510 - 262.69 effort. He went on to defeat Cottrell in the final round with another great 5.554 - 256.94 to hold off Cottrell's good, but not good enough 5.685 - 253.33. What a great weekend of racing for the Canadian team. We've seen a few shots posted on Facebook but we don't have permission (yet!) to post them here. Stay tuned though....

We've got some photos from the "Pacemaker - Bubble Up" team's wild weekend at Firebird Raceway. Third generation fuel racer, Nathan Sitko beat the best nitro nostalgia racers and dominated the event from the first round to the winners circle. Congratulations to the Ron & Ryan Hodgson team, crew chief Jim Basko, and ace driver Nathan Sitko. We'll fill in some details on the photos later.


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The latest update as of May 10, 2024

West Texas Nationals

6th annual West Texas Nationals

We've got the last batch of photos from Odessa posted below, showing the final round of qualifying, the racers meeting before eliminations began, and what appears to be the first two pairs of cars in "A" field eliminations, followed by the starting line after the deluge descended.

Qualifying Session #3 (FINAL)

David Stringer --- Doug Schneider (foreground) vs 
Jordan Ballew (background)



Smiley Cordero --- Colin Thomas



Kirk Williams (near lane) vs 
Bill Bernard (far lane) --- Shayne Lawson



Racers meeting --- Racers meeting



Mary Reep (near lane) vs 
Alan Bradshaw (far lane) --- Bill Bernard (near lane) vs 
Ray Stringer (far lane)



End of the event

The latest update as of May 9, 2024

West Texas Nationals

6th annual West Texas Nationals

They did manage to complete qualifying, with two sessions on Friday and one on Saturday. But that's as far as they got, as the deluge of rain that was forecast caused eliminations to be washed out. With possible tornados and more intense rain forecast for Sunday, the decision to cancel the balance of the event was the obvious choice for the Funny Car Chaos director, Chris Graves to make. Points were awarded to all the racers, 22 in total, that made qualifying passes.

The FCC tour will pick up with the fourth stop on the 2024 schedule coming up in a little more than two weeks at Eddyville, IA. It's the annual "Chaos in The Cornfield" race, that will feature a double dose of drag racing, with the Funny Car Chaos crew and the Nitro Chaos folks. So far, there's 29 funny cars on the pre-entry list, plus 17 nitro chaos cars. The nitro gang includes a Pro Mod, a bunch of Fuel Altereds, four Funny Cars and four front-engine dragsters, all burning a minimum of 80% nitro.

Qualifying Session #1

Jade Cook --- Jordan Ballew



Chris Schneider --- Bill Bernard



Casey Geeslin --- Shayne Lawson



Michael Neal --- Nick Poloson



Clay Cunningham (near lane) vs 
Wayne Hofmann (far lane) --- Alan Bradshaw



Mary Reep --- Doug Schneider (near lane) vs 
Keith Jackson (far lane)



K.C. Jones

Qualifying Session #2

Wayne Hofmann --- Bill Bernard (near lane) vs 
Jordan Ballew (far lane)



Chris Schneider (near lane) vs 
Clay Cunningham (far lane) --- Nick Poloson (near lane) vs 
David Stringer (far lane)



Chuck Loftin (near lane) vs 
Jade Cook (far lane) --- Ray Stringer



Kirk Williams (near lane) vs 
Michael Neal (far lane) --- Jet Funny Car



Next up is Saturday's final qualifying session.

The latest update as of April 30, 2024

West Texas Nationals

West Texas Nationals

It's not going to be a big field at Odessa, but the 26 pre-entries.... oops, now it's down to 25, should be enough to fill three fields of fast race cars. The weather forecast is not the best, but the FCC always schedules qualifying on Friday and eliminations on Saturday, which leaves Sunday in reserve just in case of unforeseen events... like rain. We won't be able to post anything about the race until next week but we will have full photo and editorial coverage of the event by the end of the week. As always: stay tuned!

The latest update as of April 20, 2024

Chaos Cajun Nationals

3rd annual Chaos Cajun Nationals

It's race day down at State Capitol Raceway, near Baton Rouge, LA, as the FUNNY CAR CHAOS tour makes its second stop of the 2024 season. It's much more low-key than the Texas Motorplex extravaganza of two weeks ago, but there's still some serious racing happening, with four AA/Funny Cars, a turbo-alky car, and at least 15 blown alcohol cars. Sitting at the top of the ladder going into the final qualifying session is the 2022 series champion Kirk Williams, in the Williams Brothers "200 Proof" entry, with an excellent 3.742 - 207.18. The speed is the only 200+ mph recorded so far, and his 3.70 pass is nearly a tenth in front of the #2 qualifier.

We don't have a correspondent on hand, due to the driving distance (nearly 1500 miles) from Arizona. And, in a very surprising development, FLORacing is no longer streaming the Funny Car Chaos series. Thankfully, Competition Plus streamed the Classic from the Motorplex, but from here on out, we're out of luck as far as video coverage goes. We'll have the results, but no photos oviously, from State Capitol tomorrow.


The race is over and the winner of the "A" field at the Chaos Cajun Nationals was the low qualifier Kirk Williams, over a very worthy opponent, the #2 qualifier Shayne Lawson, in his "Man O' War" Mustang. Neither car ran to perfection in the final, with Williams having to pedal early, and Lawson fighting to keep his car off the centerline, but the scoreboards read 3.89 - 3.97 in the Williams Brothers favour.

In the "B" field final, it was Chris Schneider in the Mach I Mustang-bodied "Brutus", facing the east coaster Wayne Hofmann. This season Hofmann is sporting a tribute to his late father Al, with "Western Auto" livery on the former "China Syndrome" car. We only heard (from the p.a. announcer) that Schneider ran a 4.10 in the final, and no numbers were provided for Hofmann, but the race looked close on the video. The finalists came from the #2 and #3 spots in the "B" field, 11th and 12th qualifiers overall.

Backing up a little bit to the final qualifying session, held earlier in the day, we can see that the 16-car bump spot improved from a 4.887 to a 4.741, leaving four of the FCC regulars on the outside. One or more of them could have possibly come into eliminations as alternates, but we'll have to wait for the full results to be posted. One racer that made a huge jump up the ladder in the final session was Ronny Young in the famed "Blue Max" Plymouth Arrow, who came from the bottom of the 20-car field to the #5 spot with a very good 3.948 at "only" 158.67, to indicate that there was more performance lurking between the frame rails. It didn't happen though, as Young lost in the first round to Williams.

That's all we've got from the Chaos Cajun Nationals for now, but we will update our report and fill in more details when they become available.

BONUS: We've found a nearly one hour video from the Chaos Cajun Nationals. Check it out here.

The latest update as of April 15, 2024


4th annual FUNNY CAR CHAOS Classic

It's time for a little "chute shot Sunday" action from last weekend's Funny Car Chaos Classic. These are the photos from the qualifying sessions for Funny Car Chaos and Nitro Chaos. Going into the final qualifying session, the bump spot (#32) for the "D" field was 4.487, held down by David Stringer. At the other end of the spectrum, the quickest 11 cars were all in the 3-second zone, with the entire "A" field, in at 3.775, or better. Holding down the bump in the top field was "Nitro Nick Poloson in one of the Loftin & Poloson team cars.

FUNNY CAR CHAOS - Qualifying Session #3 (FINAL)

Jade Cook --- Colin Thomas

(LEFT) Action got underway with Jade Cook in the "Bad Intentions" car, looking to improve on her earlier 4.259 - 166.30 best. She wasn't able to top that, but laid down a consistent 4.292 - 165.56 that showed consistency going into eliminations. She dropped from the middle of the "C" field at #21, down to #29, in the middle of the "D" field. Side note: In case you're wondering why Cook was driving the car normally piloted by Chance Biffle (as I was), both her regular ride, the "Nemesis" and the Bad Intentions car are owned by the Cook family. When she broke the transmission and engine in her car, she took over Biffle's car for this event.

(RIGHT) One of the new competitors on the circuit this year was Colin Thomas in his "Twisted Sister", and he got the nitro burner up to speed with a good 4.213 - 181.76 pass that elevated him from #40 - and a long way out of the show - to #26, near the top of the "D" field.

Ronny Young --- Michael Neal

(LEFT) The totally iconic "Blue Max" Plymouth Arrow tribute car to the late Raymond Beadle, really laid down some serious horsepower, knocking nearly three quarters of a second off Ronny Young's Friday best of 4.253 - 134.85. The slow speed indicates much less than a full throttle pass, but on this attempt, he catapulted all the way to the #2 spot in the show, with an awesome 3.594 - 222.47 effort. Those numbers had to be career best for the team.

(RIGHT) Coming into the final session with a best of 4.558, only good for #35 and just outside the "D" field, Michael Neal in the "Burnin' Love" Nova had his work cut out for him. Unfortunately, he could muster a 4.676 - 152.10, that left him in the #41 spot and gave him an early ticket home to Mississippi.

Chuck Loftin --- Mitch Bowen

(LEFT) Trying to run a two-car team full time this season, Chuck Loftin came into the last qualifier down in the #18 position with a 4.189 - 175.78 to his credit. He picked up the pace to a 4.095 - 168.36, but dropped two spots to #20 on the final list, leaving him in the middle of the "C" field.

(RIGHT) The Bowen & Monn entry sat at the top of the "D" field (#25) with a decent 4.338 - 155.45 to their credit, but wanted more performance. They did just that, knocking nearly two tenths of their Friday numbers, with Mitch Bowen clocking a 4.140 - 174.46 to move solidly into the "C" field.

Mary Reep --- Tony Arcuri

(LEFT) After two forgettable passes on Friday, Mary Reep was anxious to show her home state fans what the "Grim Reeper" was capable of. And she did it in spades, vaulting from her #42 numbers of 5.210 - 111.57, all the way to the upper half of the "B" field (#11) with an excellent 3.854 - 188.21 effort. That positioned her very well going into eliminations.

(RIGHT) With the unique body style for the "Firefighter" entry, Tony Arcuri has become one of the most recognizable entries on the FCC tour. Coming into the last session with only a 4.770 on the board, and well outside the field, he picked up the pace considerably to jump to the top of the "D" field with a solid 4.206 - 171.40 to hold down the #25 spot in the final order.

Doug Schneider --- Sheldon Lofgreen

(LEFT) Coming into the final qualifying round sitting in the middle of the "A" field with a very good 3.719 - 204.50 that placed him #5, Doug Schneider wanted to at least put down a consistent number, but fell victim to immediate tire smoke after a quick launch. His 9-second time was no help as he dropped one spot to #6 on the final ladder.

(RIGHT) Running the unique twin-turbo Hemi combination, Scottsdale, Arizona's Sheldon Lofgreen, in the sharp looking "Arizona Thunder" was looking to put down a good pass, after two mediocre runs on Friday. His best was an on-and-off 4.771 - 172.96, that indicated lots of power but not much traction. He rectified that situation with an excellent 4.068 - 181.94 to move up 21 spots to #17, at the top of the "C" field going into eliminations.

Shawn Murphy --- Justin Mallott

(LEFT) Another new face on the circuit, Texan Shawn Murphy debuted the "Hillbilly" and came into the session at the top of the "C" field in the #17 spot with a best of 4.170 - 192.56. He wasn't able to match those numbers, and his 4.336 - 182.36 saw him slip all the way to the bottom of the "C" field in the #24 position.

(RIGHT) With one last shot to pick up the necessary performance to advance to eliminations, Justin Mallott in the beautiful "Must be Nice" '57 Chevy had to chop nearly half a second off his earlier 4.779 e.t. He did it with a clutch effort, clocking in at 4.295 - 165.65 to grab the #30 spot in the bottom half of the "D" field.

Joe Morrison --- Shayne Lawson

(LEFT) Coming all the way to Texas from Flemington, NJ, "Nitro" Joe Morrison wheeled Dennis Champney's "Hellbound" Dodge Avenger to a #22 qualifying spot, with a good 4.274 - 172.33 but wanted to see something quicker on the scoreboard. He got his wish as an improved 4.158 - 178.64 kept him in the "C" field, albeit one spot lower in the #23 position.

(RIGHT) Still perfecting the Ken Singleton tuneup, the "Man O' War II" team, with Shayne Lawson at the tiller was in it's usual position, in the "A" field, with a very good Friday best of 3.774 - 204.93 that held down the #7 position going into the final session. They were expecting a little better run, or at least a consistent one, but had to settle for a 3.985 - 185.66 that was no help as they dropped to the #8 spot in the final standing.

Joe Morrison (near 
lane) vs Shayne Lawson (far lane) --- Steve Timosyzk

(LEFT) Here's both of the previous cars slowing after their passes, with Joe Morrison (near lane) in the foreground, and Shayne Lawson (far lane) in the background.

(RIGHT) One of the FCC regulars, Michigander Steve Timoszyk brought out his "Detroit Tiger" Monza tribute car and qualified decently with a Friday best of 4.257 - 181.80 that placed him #20 in the middle of the "C" field. He launched hard in his final attempt, but went into a big wheelie that forced him to lift momentarily and limit him to a 4.494 at an early shutoff 148.97, as he slipped down the ladder to the #26 position, in the middle of the "D" field.

Keith Zimmerer (near 
lane) vs Kirk Williams (far lane) --- Keith Zimmerer

(LEFT) A pair of the heavy hitters in the field matched up for their final qualifying passes. In the near lane it was the Will Hanna-tuned "Penny Pincher" of Keith Zimmerer who ran very hard on Friday, with a best of 3.671 - 206.45 that landed him in the #4 spot in the "A" field. In the far lane was the 2022 series champion, Kirk Williams, driving the Williams Bros. "200 Proof" entry, sitting one rung above Zimmerer on the ladder, with a slightly better 3.661 - 210.00 blast on Friday. In what could have been a preview of a later round in eliminations, Williams got to the finish line first by one thousandth of a second, stopping the clocks with a great, but not improved 3.728 - 209.80 pass.

(RIGHT) Running quicker than Williams, but reacting nearly five hundredths later, Zimmerer carded an excellent 3.684 - 204.53 that wasn't better than his Friday effort, as both racers dropped one spot, with Williams down to #4 and Zimmerer down to #5, courtesy of Ronny Young's 3.594 timeslip.

Michael Irwin --- Tom Furches

(LEFT) Another new driver to Funny Car Chaos, wheeling the ex-Dennis Taylor "Evil, Wicked, Mean & Nasty" Mustang was Michael Irwin. The blown fuel NHRA Heritage Series car was well down the list in #30 after his firs two qualifiers, with a best of just 4.418 - 137.21 to his credit. He picked up two tenths, but his 4.229 - 141.90 indicated that the car wasn't getting to the finish line under power, leaving Irwin in the middle of the "D" field when qualifying closed.

(RIGHT) The 2023 FCC champion, Tom Furches, was back to defend his title in the familiar "Made in America" Corvette. His 4.025 - 180.93 best after two sessions had him in the middle of the "B" field in the #12 position, but heavy tire shake prompted him to shutoff and coast to a 6-second clocking. That result dropped him two spots to #14, but still solidly in the "B" field for eliminations.

Casey Geeslin --- Randy Mueller

(LEFT) Following his successful first session as part of the "chaos contingent", Mississippi's Casey Geeslin was still working on the tuneup going into the final qualifying session. His best after two sessions was only a 4.386 - 182.45 that had him in the #28 spot, well down in the "D" field. He rectified that situation quickly with a very good 4.032 - 185.64 effort that moved him up to #15 and a spot in the "B" field.

(RIGHT) Still "Crazy" Randy Mueller needed some assistance from the quad pusher, as he broke on the burnout and needed help getting down to the return road. With his earlier 4.611 - 154.40 being his best time of the weekend, he finished the event in the #42 spot and a long way short of the 4.322 bump spot for eliminations.

Clay Cunningham --- Mike Newkirk

(LEFT) Sporting a new body and paint scheme on the "Still Crazy" entry, Clay Cunningham had a truly forgettable Friday, with no numbers posted after two aborted runs, one ending at the end of the burnout. His Saturday wasn't much better as a 5.319 - 107.05 was DQ'd, leaving him in the #44 spot on the final qualifying list.

(RIGHT) Another new body and graphic look was the "Silver Slipper"Mike Newkirk ran well on Friday with a great 3.812 - 200.28 to sit #9, at the top of the "B" field. They closed out the final qualifying session with a bye run that netted them an even better 3.787 - 201.93 to stay near the top of the "B" field, albeit one spot lower in the #10 position.

NITRO CHAOS - Qualifying Session #3 (FINAL)

With three 8-car fields to fill, and only 28 cars in the pits, it was almost a certainty that everyone with a healthy car was going to at least qualify for eliminations. After the first two sessions, a total of 19 cars had cracked the 3-second zone, with 11 of them in at 3.787 or quicker. To show tight the qualifying numbers were, the bump spot for the "B" field was a seriously stout 3.883 e.t.

Chase Copeland --- Lyle Greenberg

(LEFT) With a unique unsupercharged nitro burning Hemi in his altered, Chase Copeland, in his "Cubic Dollars" entry, showed that he could run with the blown entries as he laid down a best of 3.777 - 211.11 on Friday night. He didn't improve on Saturday though, as he shut off early to a very good, but not better, 3.934 - 160.43, but was still able to hang on to the #9 spot at the top of the "B" field.

(RIGHT) Running in the other lane against Copeland, was Albuquerque's Lyle Greenberg in the altered bodied version of the "Cone Hunter", hoping to dip into the 3.60's after an earlier best of 3.710 - 203.05. That placed him #5 in the pecking order, in the middle of the "A" field. He launched hard on his final qualifier, but the blower belt gave up at the 330' mark, slowing him to a 5-second clocking at 80 mph. He still held on to the #5 spot in the field though.

Mark Hunter --- Tyler Hilton

(LEFT) Driving the nasty looking Curtis Wasson-owned "Jailbreak" fuel altered, Mark Hunter came into the final session down at the bottom of the "C" field, with only a 4.384 - 149.04 to their credit. He picked up the pace considerbly with a great 3.989 - 195.57 but it only moved them up the ladder three rungs, to the #21 spot in the middle of the "C" field.

(RIGHT) The 2023 NHRA Heritage Series champion, Tyler Hilton was back to continue his foray into the Nitro Chaos circuit, this time with brother Mike in the second Hilton family team car. After a best of 3.806 - 209.39 on Friday, the "Great Expectations III" team was looking for consistency heading into eliminations. They got with a marginally quicker and faster pass of 3.800 - 209.98 that kept them in the middle of the "B" field in the #12 spot.

Keith Jackson --- Tod Barker

(LEFT) With a new body and plain black paint, the relocated (from Colorado to Texas) "High Heaven" team were on the outside looking in with a 26th best 4.817 - 143.70 time on Friday. They improved slightly to a 4.667 - 162.40 on their final attempt, but it left them in the #27 spot in the final order.

(RIGHT) Switching from an injected nitro combination to a blown setup over the winter was proving to be just as difficult as last year's efforts for the two car "Back in Black" team. Driven by Tod Barker, the 'Vette-boded entry was just outside the "C" field with a Friday best of 3.473 - 130.07, but a 9-second e.t. was absolutely no help to them as they fell one spot to #26 on the final list.

Wade Pennington --- Dave Hill

(LEFT) The last two racers in the lanes made single runs, with Wade Pennington leading off in his beautiful Scrap Bucket". He came into the final session with a 4.123 - 160.02 that held the #22 spot in the "C" field. He ran faster, but not quicker on his final qualifier, stopping the clocks with a 4.437 - 179.00, as he fell to the bottom of the "C" field in the #24 position.

(RIGHT) The narrowed and nasty looking "Mad Max" Mustang of Indiana's Dave Hill put down a very impressive 3.845 - 206.56 on Friday night, that put him in the middle of the "B" field in the "lucky" #13 spot. He ran into trouble on his last attempt as an early shutoff 4.468 - 111.21 failed to advance him, and he finished one spot lower in the #14 spot on the ladder.

Kebin Kinsley

We're not sure what the '63 split window 'Vette ran, as the scoreboards were shut off, but it certainly looked very fast and quick. The latest creation of the "War Wagon" speed factory of Howard and Shane Farris, driven by jack-of-all-trades Kebin Kinsley certainly showed that you could successfully mate a full-on Top Fuel engine with a Pro Mod chassis and make it work. Not sure where we'll see this car next, but it's certainly something to watch for.

Andy Mears (near 
lane) vs (far lane) --- Andy Mears

Closing out qualifying were the ever-popular Jet Dragsters, with Andy Mears, near lane in the left photo and Ray Kelley, far lane in the left photo, wheeling the "Game X-Change" team cars down the track. In the right photo, it's Mears by himself, slowing after another earth shaking blast.

The latest update as of April 12, 2024


4th annual FUNNY CAR CHAOS Classic

After three hard fought rounds of qualifying, the fields were set with just one alternate inserted (in the "B" field). A total of 13 cars went into the 3-second zone, and the "A" field bump spot was an ultra-tough 3.774, held down by Shayne Lawson. A procedural change for this season saw a "sportsman" ladder used, instead of the traditional "pro" ladder. We presume that was instituted to make for closer matchups, with #1 facing #5, instead of #8. An interesting concept but after so many years of being used to the pro ladder, it was a bit confusing (at least to me) at first. Repeat after me: 1 against 5, 2 against 6, 3 against 7, 4 against 8.

FUNNY CAR CHAOS - "A" Field Eliminations - Round ONE

Shayne Lawson 
(near lane) vs Kirk Williams (far lane) --- Doug Schneider 
(near lane) vs Ronny Young (far lane)

(LEFT) Eliminations opened with a pair of Top Alcohol-style cars, with Shayne Lawson in the Ken Singleton-tuned "Man O' War II" (near lane), paired with the Williams Brothers "200 Proof" entry, driven by 2022 FCC Champion Kirk Williams. It was a very close race, with Lawson leaving first on an almost perfect .003 reaction time, but getting to the finish line second, despite a 3.912 - 179.04. Williams turned on the winlight with a slightly quicker 3.868 - 177.56. Oddly, it appeared that both drivers shut off a little early.

(RIGHT) Despite a decided e.t. advantage, Ronny Young (far lane) smoked the tires and shut off to a disappointing 11-second clocking in the "Blue Max". Taking full advantage of his plight was Doug Schneider (near lane), as the "Milliken Monster" reeled off a 3.813 - 200.55 for the win. His e.t. was a full tenth of a second slower than his qualifying best, but it was more than enough to turn on the winlight.

John Hale (near 
lane) vs Keith Zimmerer (far lane) --- Bill Bernard (near 
lane) vs Kris Krabill (far lane)

(LEFT) Another possible David vs Goliath match followed, with top qualifier John Hale in the Gordon & Hale "Red Baron" holding a near two tenths edge over a very worthy opponenet Keith Zimmerer (far lane) with his hard running "Penny Pincher" entry. Zimmerer left first by an .046 to .109 reaction time margin, but smoked the tires hard before the 60' clocks and slowly rolled to a stop before the finish line. Hale, on the other hand, imporoved on his qualifying effort, setting a new low e.t. of the meet with a tremendous 3.460, coupled with a new top speed at 230.96 mph for the easy win.

(RIGHT) The first round concluded with an alcohol versus nitro pairing. In the near lane, it was the blown alcohol entry of Bill Bernard in "The Grinder", against the Bartone & Lebor Daryll Gwynn tribute car, driven by west coaster Kris "Hollywood" Krabil. Both cars ran close to their qualfying times, but the alky car lit up the scoreboard with a 3.684 - 207.74 over the nitro burner's 3.731 - 204.10 effort. Making it a more convincing win was the reaction time advantage for Bernard, by an .040 to .079 margin.

FUNNY CAR CHAOS - "B" Field Eliminations - Round ONE

Levi Keenen 
(near lane) vs Ray Stringer (far lane) --- Mary Reep

(LEFT) A pair of nitro burners came up next, with Levi Keenen's Plymouth Arrow-bodied "Illinois Thunder" (near lane) holding lane choice by a tenth and a half over the "Blown Cent-Less" car of New Mexico's Ray Stringer (far lane). They left close together and at the finish line the gap was a little more than a car length, with Keenen getting the win with a solid 4.025 - 190.79 over Stringer's second-best 4.100 - 181.07 effort.

(RIGHT) It wasn't planned to be a bye run, but when Casey Geeslin "struck oil" in his "Gambler" Camaro on the burnout, Mary Reep had an easy path to the second round in the "Grim Reeper". She nearly matched her qualifying time with a very strong 3.876 - 187.85 for the win. As it turned out, Reep's e.t. was quickest of the round for the "B" field and guaranteed her lane choice in the semifinals.

Mike Newkirk --- Smiley Cordero 
(near lane) vs Nick Poloson (far lane)

(LEFT) Showing up this year with a very different look to the body, paint, and nickname, Mike Newkirk appeared to be on a solo also in his "Silver Slipper". It wasn't quite a bye run, but his opponent, the defending series champion, Tom Furches in the "Made in America" entry left the starting line before the tree was activated, negating his e.t. and giving the automatic win to Newkirk. Mike ran hard for a few hundred feet before clicking it off to a 4.866 - 107.84 clocking.

(RIGHT) The round closed with the first alternate (#33), Smiley Cordero in his "Maximum Overdrive" Camaro (near lane) getting a second chance, but he ' failed to take advantage and ran into trouble on a losing 4.739 - 177.73 pass. Taking the win and advancing was "Nitro" Nick Poloson in the Loftin & Poloson "Bucket List" (far lane) with a slightly early shutoff 4.066 - 162.07 winning time.

FUNNY CAR CHAOS - "C" Field Eliminations - Round ONE

Joe Morrison (near 
lane) vs Joe Pirrone (far lane) --- Chris Schneider 
(near lane) vs Sheldon Lofgreen (far lane)

(LEFT) The first of the indexed fields began with a 3.91 on the scoreboards. With the field tightly bunched between Sheldon Lofgreen on top at 4.068 and Shawn Murphy on the bottom at 4.170, there was a promise of some close racing. The first pairing featured two Easterner's, with New Jersey's Joe Morrison (near lane) in the "Hellbound" Dodge, against Pennsylvania's Joe Pirrone and his Firebird-bodied "Screaming Eagle". It was all over before the ambers flashed as Pirrone rolled through the staging beams, and Morrison took the automatic win with a mediocre 4.570 - 157.97 timeslip.

(RIGHT) FCC series stalwart Chris Schneider in the Lew Arrington tribute "Brutus" Mustang (near lane) slowed from his qualifying time (4.133) and could only manage a decent, but losing, 4.257 - 171.66. Launching with an almost perfect reaction time (.001), Sheldon Lofgreen took the win with a very good 4.111 - 180.12 to move to the semifinal, with lane choice over Morrison.

Chuck Loftin

The round closed with another uncontested win, as Shawn Murphy failed to fire in the "Hillbilly", making Chuck Loftin the automatic winner as long as he could fire and stage his "Motivation" Mustang. He managed both and made a nearly full run, clicking it just a little early and ringing up a 4.099 - 163.89 on the scoreboards. The e.t. was enough to earn him lane choice over Wayne Hofmann in the second round.

FUNNY CAR CHAOS - "D" Field Eliminations - Round ONE

Alex Barker (near 
lane) vs Steve Timoszyk (far lane) --- Michael Irwin (near 
lane) vs Mike Buchanan (far lane)

(LEFT) The last group to run in the first round was the "D" field, running off a 4.05 index. The gap between the top of the field, Tonyt Arcuri - 4.206, and the bottom, Alex Barker - 4.322 was just over a tenth of a second, again promising some close competition. The first pair featured bubble boy Barker (near lane) in his "Back in Black" Pontiac GTO, against the "Detroit Tiger" of Michigander Steve Timoszyk in the far lane. As can be seen in the photo, Barker took an early lead with an .068 to .106 reaction advantage, but at the finish line it was close, with Barker's 4.523 - 124.80 barely eking out the win over Timosyzk's 4.545 - 128.00, as the Monza blew the engine just past the 330' mark.

(RIGHT) Next up was series debutante Michael Irwin in the blown fuel "Strange Behavior" (near lane). He struggled in qualifying with his best runs being a 4.41 and 4.22, but he found the tuneup he needed - too much in fact - and rocked the scoreboards with a very quick 3.908 - 185.59. It was nearly 15 hundredths too quick for the index, and to add injury to insult, his opponent Mike Buchanan broke shortly after he left the starting line and slowly rolled to a stop well before the finish line. Sometimes it's truly better to be lucky than good, and in the "Hombre"'s case, it certainly was.

Colin Thomas (near 
lane) vs Justin Mallott (far lane) --- Tony Arcuri (near 
lane) vs Jade Cook (far lane)

(LEFT) The other newcomer to Funny Car Chaos in this field was Colorado's Colin Thomas in his flat black "Twisted Sister" Mach I Mustang (near lane), facing Justin Mallott in the '57 Chevy "Must be Nice" in the far lane. Thomas left hard with a sub 1-second 60' time, but his reaction time of .137, versus Thomas' .095 was too much overcome despite the closeness of the e.t.'s. Thomas stopped the clocks first with a 4.147 - 175.41 versus the second-best effort of Mallott, who trailed with a 4.229 - 167.35. Despite making his best run of the event, it was an early finish for Mallott.

(RIGHT) The first round of eliminations closed with Jade Cook in her borrowed "Bad Intentions" entry (far lane), taking a holeshot win over "The Firefighter" '56 Crown Victoria of Tony Arcuri. Cook laid down one of her patented quick leaves, with an excellent .021 reaction against Arcuri's .157, and that pretty much told the tale. Cook ran a very consistent 4.218 - 170.40 that easily covered the later leaving 4.250 - 167.26 of Arcuri. The win also gave lane choice to Cook over Buchanan in the semis, while Thomas had his pick over Barker.

NITRO CHAOS - "A" field eliminations - Round ONE

Kebin Kinsley 
(near lane) vs Brian Inouye (far lane) --- Mitch King (near 
lane) vs Joe Gallegos (far lane)

(LEFT)Even though there was a huge spread between the #1 (Joey Haas at 3.332) and #8 (Gary Wheeler Jr. at 3.759) qualifiers, the sportsman ladder reduce the performance disparity somewhat. The first pair out of the lanes matched #2 qualifier Kebin Kinsley in the Farris Brothers "War Wagon AA/Fuel Altered (near lane), against Ohio's "Frantic Fueler", driven by Brian Inouye (far lane). Despite taking a .016 reaction time advantage, it was all over quickly for Inouye when Kinsley rang up an .890 time at 60', taking nearly a half car length lead by the time they passed the christmas tree. Kinsley extended the lead all the way to the finish line, igniting the scoreboards with an excellent 3.482 - 227.02 to train length the very credible 3.843 - 209.40 of the Dauenheimer & Inouye AA/Fuel Dragster.

(RIGHT) The round continued with another fuel altered versus dragster pairing. In the near lane it was another Texas-based AA/FA. the "Bone Bucket", driven by long-time fuel racer Mitch King, against the "Nitro Clown" AA/FD of Joe Gallegos in the far lane. It was a good side-by-side race with both cars running in the 3.80's, but it was the slower leaving, but quicker car of King turning on the winlight with a 3.815 - 196.16 to hold off the great effort of Gallegos at 3.894 - 202.70. The gap at the finish line was barely a car length in a very close race.

Gary Wheeler Jr. 
(near lane) vs Jody Austin (far lane) --- Lyle Greenberg (near 
lane) vs Joey Haas (far lane)

(LEFT) It was yet another fuel altered against fuel dragster match, with the Oklahoma-based Brooks & Wheeler dragster, driven by Gary Wheeler Jr. (near lane), taking on the "Bushwhacker" of Texan Jody Austin in the far lane. They qualified barely half a tenth apart, with Austin holding the edge, and he widened that e.t. margin with a very strong 3.632 - 209.91, but a rather tardy (.181) reaction time nearly cost him the win. Wheeler launched a full tenth quicker, but his excellent 3.736 - 213.67 fell just seven thousandths of a second short at the stripe, in the closest race of the event.

(RIGHT) The first round closed with a major David vs Goliath battle, as low qualifier Joey Haas in the "Nimrod" AA/Funny Car, far lane, took on the #5 qualifier Lyle Greenberg in his "Cone Hunter" AA/Fuel Altered. The two cars left together, but Greenberg threw in the towel early and slowed to a 4.920 - 98.02, while Haas blasted out low e.t., of eliminations at a thundering 3.405 - 218.77 to move into the second round. That e.t. gave Haas lane choice over King, while Kinsley held sway over Austin.

NITRO CHAOS - "B" field eliminations - Round ONE

In Nitro Chaos racing, only the "A" field is run heads-up. The index in place for this event for the "B" field landed at 3.62 which was at least a little quicker than any of the racers could conceivably run, and the "C" field was set at 3.73, again an elapsed time that probably wouldn't be exceeded.

Chase Copeland (near 
lane) vs Clint Cross (far lane) --- Tyler Hilton (near lane) 
vs Michael Anderson (far lane)

(LEFT) The "B" field opened eliminations with a pair of fuel altereds, the injected nitro "Cubic Dollars" entry of Chase Copeland in the near lane, against the blown "Crossways" AA/FA of Meyer & Cross in the far lane, with Clint Cross driving. The two cars qualified just six hundredths apart, with Copeland holding the edge, but it wasn't even close as Cross slept on the line (.311 light) and gave up the chase early, shutting off to a 4.201 - 139.01. Not wasting any time was Copeland, as he left on time and pounded out a very quick 3.780 -213.12 to take an easy win.

(RIGHT) After two fuel altereds, it was time for two AA/Fuel Dragsters to face off, with 2023 NHRA Heritage Series Nostalgia Top Fuel champion Tyler Hilton in the Ohi0-based "Great Expectations III" (near lane) facing the "West Texas Hustler" of Abilene's Michael Anderson. Anderson launched first by a few hundredths, but the Hilton horsepower took over early, leading to a convincing 3.784 - 211.29 win over the good try of 3.934 - 207.15 by Anderson.

Two more pairs ran in this round, with John Umlauf Jr. in his AA/FA "Mass Chaos" taking an easy win over the A/FD (injected small-block) "NItro Monkey of Paul Schultz. Umlauf shut off early to a 4.198 - 130.57, while Schultz trailed badly with a 6-second clocking. The other pair was to be a pair of AA/Fuel Altereds, but Anthony Whitfield was unable to show with his broken "Mighty Mouse", while Scott Dominguez came in as an alternate for the broken "Psycho Too" of Wilkens & Gilliland, with James Gilliland driving. Dominguez took the free ride into the semis as he rumbled down the track to a 5.336 - 140.75 win.

NITRO CHAOS - "C" field eliminations - Round ONE

Aaron Morrow (near 
lane) vs Mike Hilton (far lane) --- Bobby Marriott (near 
lane) vs Mark Hunter (far lane)

(LEFT) With the sun sinking low in the sky, our intrepid lensman switched sides and while there weren't packed grandstands in the background, the cars were more brightly lit and photogenic. First out of the lanes was the "Nitro Relapse" AA/Fuel Altered (near lane) of Terry Darby and Aaron Morrow, with Aaron Morrow behind the wheel. Facing him was the second Hilton Family AA?Fuel Dragster, driven by Mike Hilton in the far lane. Hilton left first, by a margin of .085 to .130, but the altered turned on the afterburners and stopped the clocks first with a very strong 3.833 - 196.40 initiated by a .940 short time. Despite a very good 3.943 - 206.03 by Hilton, the win light came on for Morrow by just a little more than a car length.

(RIGHT) What could be more classic than a pair of Texas fuel altereds racing at the Texas Motorplex? In the near lane it was veteran Bobby Marriott in his "Shockwave" entry, and on the far side it was Mark Hunter in the Curtis Wasson and Mark Hunter "Jailbreak" entry. If you discount the reaction times, it was a very close race on paper, but Hunter's reaction time advantage, .068 to .150 for Marriott, told the tale. Hunter's slower, but faster 3.938 - 205.47 overcame the slower launch, but quicker e.t. of Marriott, as he stopped the timers at 3.915 - 189.64 in a futile effort to catch the quicker reacting Hunter.

Keith Jackson (near lane) 
vs Wade Pennington (far lane) --- Michael Tabacco

(LEFT) Now located in Texas and running a new, still unwrapped/painted body, the "High Heaven" AA?Funny Car of Keith Jackon (near lane) launched well, with flames out of the pipes, but faded quickly and could only post a 5.248 - 97.33, as Wade Pennington in the "Scrap Bucket" fuel altered (far lane), broke into the 3-second zone with an excellent 3.975 - 196.12 that turned on the winlight by a wide margin.

(RIGHT) This photo of Michael Tabacco in the "Pandemic: Nitro Variant" AA/Funny Car is the only image we're going to show of the final pairing of the first round of "C" field eliminations. His opponent, Tod Barker, also running a blown fuel flopper, the Corvette, isn't shown as both racers failed to make a pass, both ended up with irreparable damage, and were unable to appear in the second round.

The latest update as of April 9, 2024


4th annual FUNNY CAR CHAOS Classic

FUNNY CAR CHAOS - "A" Field Eliminations - Round TWO

Bill Bernard

Planning to face the quickest car in the field, Bill Bernard had the car tuned up and ready to run hard. However, his scheduled opponent, John Hale in the "Red Baron" was unable to appear after finding a broken crankshaft following his first round win. Bernard didn't spare the horses on his bye run, as he pushed "The Grinder" to an excellent 3.664 - 209.09 to advance to the "A" field final.

Doug Schneider --- Doug Schneider (near 
lane) vs Kirk Williams (far lane)

(LEFT) Another Colorado-based NHRA Top Alcohol racer, Doug Schneider in his "Milliken Monster" laid down a hard burnout before his semifinal round battle.

(RIGHT) Facing Schneider in the second round was the 2022 Funny Car Chaos champion, Kirk Williams, in the Williams Brothers "200 Proof" entry (far lane), and he gave him quite a battle. Williams left first with a perfect .000 light, but faded on the top end and was "only" able to muster a 3.863 - 203.21 that wasn't enough to overcome Schneider's winning 3.698 - 205.49 effort. As good as his run was, Schneider gave up lane choice for the final to Bernard by three hundreths of a second.

FUNNY CAR CHAOS - "B" Field Eliminations - Round TWO

Mary Reep --- Nick Poloson

(LEFT) Coming into the round with back-to-back 3.80 passes under her belt, Mary Reep lit up the tires on the burnout in her "Grim Reeper". But it all unravelled at the end of the tire-heater, with a trail of oil behind the car, and the crew giving her the dreaded "kill" sign.

(RIGHT) Reeps' opponent, Nick Poloson in the Loftin & Poloson "Bucket List" took full advantage of her plight, pulling into the staging beams and shutting the car off for the automatic win and advancement to the final round.

Levi Keenen --- Mike Newkirk (near 
lane) vs Levi Keenen (far lane)

(LEFT) The other pairing in the semifinals featured the "Illinois Thunder" of Levi Keenen, coming in with 3.91 and 4.02 passes on his ledger, and hoping to drop deeper into the 3-second zone.

(RIGHT) Keenen was going to need that better performance to take out Mike Newkirk (near lane), in his new "Silver Slipper" entry. Newkirk left first, by a bunch but it was all for naught as he left a big red light glowing on the christmas tree, negating his excellent 3.851 - 199.09. Keenen took the win gratefully, as he ran into trouble on the launch and rolled to a stop well before the finish line.

FUNNY CAR CHAOS - "C" Field Eliminations - Round TWO

Chuck Loftin --- Chuck Loftin (near 
lane) vs Wayne Hofmann (far lane)

Warming the tires on his "Motivation" Mustang (left photo), Chuck Loftin faced a tough opponent in Connecticut's Wayne Hofmann in his "Western Auto" colours. Loftin was running well, with back-to-back 4.0's in the final qualifying session and first round of eliminations. Hofmann had actually run quicker with his final qualifying pass of 4.079 and a consistent 4.111 in the first round. But when the lights flashed, it was Loftin away first, on an .031 light to Hofmann's solid .046 reaction. Loftin's nitro burner finally showed its potential with a strong 3.984 - 187.22 for the win, as Hofmann faded early and clocked in at 5.150 -94.19 in the losing effort.

Joe Morrison --- Sheldon Lofgreen

(LEFT) After a solid qualifying effort in the "Hellbound" entry with a 4.158 - 178.64, Joe Morrison slowed to a 4.57 in the first round and looked to be overmatched against a quicker opponent in the semifinals.

(RIGHT) Following a forgettable Friday, where he was stuck in the 4.70's, Sheldon Lofgreen whipped his "Arizona Thunder" to a 4.068 - 181.94 in the final qualifying session, then followed it up with a 4.111 in the first round.

Joe Morrison (near 
lane) vs Sheldon Lofgreen (far lane)

Lofgreen (far lane) nearly dropped into the 3-second zone against Morrison, with a 4.000 - 184.92 that lit up the scoreboards and turned on the winlight. Morrison (near lane) left first by nearly a tenth (.063 to .155 reaction time advantage), but ran into trouble downtrack and shut off early to a 4.641 - 127.97 in the losing cause.

FUNNY CAR CHAOS - "D" Field Eliminations - Round TWO

Jade Cook --- Jade Cook (near lane) 
vs Mike Buchanan (far lane)

(LEFT) Looking very comfortable in her "borrowed" ride, Jade Cook prepped the tires before her semifinal race. She had been consistent all weekend, with a batch of mid 4.20 passes under her belt and was looking for more of the same.

(RIGHT) And that's exactly what happened as Cook (near lane) whipped the "Bad Intentions" entry to a very good 4.248 - 168.31 to easily dispose of Mike Buchannan in the "Hombre" Vegas. Buchannan redlghted by just six thousandths and shut off shortly after.

The other second round pair turned into a single for Colin Thomas (not shown) in his "Twisted Sister" as his scheduled opponent, Alex Barker in the "Back in Black" Pontiac GTO broke in his first round win and was unable to appear. Thomas merely staged the car, took the green, and shut off at the starting line to automatically advance to the final against Cook.

NITRO CHAOS - "A" Field Eliminations - Round TWO

Kebin Kinsley --- Kebin Kinsley (near 
lane) vs Jody Austin (far lane)

(LEFT) Blazing across the starting line in the Farris & Kinsely "War Wagon" entry, Kebin Kinsley prepared to make another 3.40 pass in the world's fastest fuel altered. He earned that distinction by running 304.59 in the 1/4-mile at the Motorplex in 2021.

(RIGHT) As can clearly be seen, Kebin Kinsley (near lane) reacted first and pulled into an early lead enroute to his quickest and fastest run of the event, a brilliant 3.428 - 232.16 to advance to the final round. His opponent, Jody Austin in the "Bushwhacker" (far lane), fell behind early and clicked it to a 14-second time as Kinsely sped off into the evening.

Joey Haas --- Mitch King (near lane) 
vs Joey Haas (far lane)



NITRO CHAOS - "B" Field Eliminations - Round TWO

Tyler Hilton (near 
lane) vs John Umlauf (far lane)

Chase Copeland --- Chase Copeland (near 
lane) vs Scott Dominguez (far lane)



NITRO CHAOS - "C" Field Eliminations - Round TWO

Wade Pennington --- Aaron Morrow



The latest update as of April 8, 2024


4th annual FUNNY CAR CHAOS Classic

Normally we cover a race from start to finish; ie., with qualifying first, then eliminations, culminating with the final rounds and sometimes, winners circle shots. This time around, we're doing it from back to front, with the FINAL rounds first, starting with the FUNNY CAR CHAOS "D" field final. We expect more - lots more! photos to arrive in the ol' inbox over the next few days. Keep checking back for updates and more details on what was a wild - in more ways than one - race.


Jade Cook (near lane) vs 
Colin Thomas (far lane)

Appearances can sometimes be deceiving, as it looks like the "Bad Intentions" car was being driven by Chance Biffle, but Biffle never recorded an e.t. and was well outside any of the fields in the #46 spot on the final qualifying sheets. We don't know why Jade Cook (near lane), who normally drives her "Nemesis" entry, but the answer will come at some point in our review of the video(s) from the event. We can report that Ms. Cook did in fact win the "D" field with a very consistent 4.248 - 168.38 pass, to easily cover FCC newcomer Colin Thomas (far lane) in the nitro-burning "Twisted Sister" car. He left first by nearly five hundredths, but trailed badly at the finish line with a 5.564 - 99.51 losing effort.


Chuck Loftin

The second final of the evening produced an anticlimactic result, as Sheldon Lofgreen in the "Arizona Thunder" (far lane) came into the final with a 4.00-flat in the semis, nearly matching the slightly better 3.98 pass of Chuck Loftin (near lane) in his "Motivation" Mustang. The two teams had very motivation, with only the hemi engines in common, as Lofgreen was running a twin-turbo setup, while Loftin was running a standard blower with nitro in the tank. Loftin finished his burnout and backed up to the line while Lofgreen's team was frantically trying to latch the body down, ultimately throwing in the towel and letting Loftin take a single for the victory. He left hard, with the wheels up for the first hundred feet, before setting it down and stopping the clocks at 4.064 - 145.65, as he lifted early with no one in the other lane.


Levi Keenen (near lane) vs 
Nick Poloson (far lane)

The "B" final matched up a pair of blown fuel racers, with Levi Keenen in his Arrow-bodied "Illinois Thunder" (near lane), facing the Loftin & Poloson "Bucket List", with 'Nitro' Nick Poloson at the wheel. When the ambers flashed, Keenen launched first by a few hundredths, but Poloson caught him by the 330' mark and despite getting very close to the wall on the top end, lit up the scoreboards with a winning 3.848 - 196.72 to take the win over a close and very competitive 3.941 - 192.40 pass by Keenen. A great final round for the "B" field and a solid lead-in to the "A" final.


Bill Bernard (near lane) vs 
Doug Schneider (far lane)

The last final round of the evening for the Funny Car Chaos contingent matched up a pair of full-on NHRA Top Alcohol cars, both hailing from the high country of Colorado, with Bill Bernard (near lane) in the Mile-High Crankshafts sponsored "The Grinder" against the "Milliken Monster" of Doug Schneider in the far lane. Both cars left very quickly with Bernard getting a miniscule edge by virtue of a .024 to .030 reaction time. They stayed close together all the way to the finish line, with Bernard turning on the winlight with a tremendous 3.673 - 209.18 to take a carlength victory over Schneider's oh-so-close 3.724 - 206.04. Throughout the event, the two racers had consistently run within a half a tenth of each other, and the final round was no different.

With all four Funny Car Chaos finals completed, it was time for the Nitro Chaos teams to wrap up their three final rounds. With 29 cars pre-entered, and 28 showing up, it was decided to run a "C" field for the first time ever in the series. It was a wise move as 22 cars qualified with a sub 4-second run, and the bump spot for the "C" field was a very competitive 4.123 elapsed time.


Wade Pennington (near lane) vs 
Mark Hunter

The first pair of "Awful Awfuls" (AA/Fuel Altereds) blasted out of the burnout box to start the NITRO CHAOS finals. The "C" field finalists were Wade Pennington (near lane) in the "Scrap Bucket", matched up against the Wasson & Hunter "Jailbreak" in the far lane. When the cars pulled into the staging beams, Hunter "double bulbed" before Pennington had even moved into pre-stage and it was more than a few seconds before the "Scrap Bucket" finally moved into full stage. When the green lights came on, Pennington launched hard as Hunter apparently broke, and coasted across the 660' finish line with a 15-second e.t. Pennington laid down his best run of the event, with an awesome 3.895 - 206.86 for a very convincing win. Coming all the way from the #24 spot on the ladder, at the very bottom of the "C" field, to the winner's circle was quite an accomplishment for the hard working team.


Chase Copeland (near lane) vs 
Tyler Hilton (far lane)

Showing the diversity of the Nitro Chaos format, the "B" final pitted the "Cubic Dollars" AA/Fuel Altered of Texan Chase Copeland (near lane) facing the "Great Expectations III" AA/Fuel Dragster of the Ohio-based Hilton Family, with young Tyler Hilton (far lane) driving. On the green, Copeland took a four hundredths reaction time advantage and kept it close all the way down, despite slowly drifting towards the centerline for most of the 1/8-th mile pass. Even with a slightly delayed launch, Hilton caught Copeland at half track and turned on the winlight with a great 3.767 - 211.37, taking a half carlength victory over the very close, and very worthy 3.839 - 209.18 carded by Copeland's fuel altered.


Kebin Kinsley (near lane) vs 
Mitch King (far lane)

We know that Kebin Kinsley (near lane), in the Farris & Kinsley "War Wagon" won the "A" final because we've seen the winners circle pictures, and he was paired up with fellow Texan (lots of Texans running Fuel Altereds it appears) Mitch King in his "Bone Bucket" entry. Unfortunately, we don't know who turned what, e.t. or speed-wise, as the YouTube video stream ran out before the final was run. More details when we receive them.

The latest update as of April 7, 2024

NHRA Arizona Nationals

39th annual NHRA Arizona Nationals

The first round of Pro eliminations have just completed, and 22 of the 24 matches were won in the left lane. Not sure if there's a problem with that side of the track, but it seems awfully coincidental to have that much disparity in the lane choices. And it looks like the left lane dominance is continuing in the opening round of Pro Mod.


4th annual FUNNY CAR CHAOS Classic

The latest update as of April 5, 2024

NHRA Arizona Nationals

39th annual NHRA Arizona Nationals

Not mcuh to report yet, as the first qualifying for the PRO cars gets underway late this afternoon at Firebird Motorsports Park. There's only a single qualifying session for them today, but that includes the first round of the #2Fast2Tasty Challenge. Also on tap today are two sessions for Pro Mod and the Legends Nitro Funny Car classes. Tomorrow, the action heats up with the postponed final rounds from the Winternationals, the final round of the Challenge, and the final two qualifying sessions for the Pro cars. We would have our Phoenix-based lensman, BIG Bob Snyder, on hand to capture all the action, but he's "otherwise engaged" at an event 1000 miles east of Phoenix, at the Texas Motorplex.


4th annual FUNNY CAR CHAOS Classic

And that event referenced in the Ariozna Nationals "report" is the BIGGEST Funny Car race on the planet, the 4th annual Funny Car Chaos Classic. But wait, there's more, as the floppers are being joined by the Nitro Chaos competitors. All told, there's 47 nitro and alcohol cars entered in the FCC, and a total of 29 cars in the Nitro Chaos field. The NC numbers break down as follows: four blown fuel Funny Cars, one injected nitro Funny Car, eight blown fuel dragsters, one injected nitro dragster, and 15 blown fuel altereds. Quite a mix of motivational styles, but with one common element: a MINIMUM of 80% nitro in the tank, and the engine in front of the driver.

With so many (76) entries, there will be FOUR 8-car fields for the Funny Car Chaos racers, and THREE 8-car fields for the Nitro Chaos cometitors. While the A" & "B" fields will run heads-up, the "C" & "D" fields will run on an index until the final rounds, which will all be heads-up. In Nitro Chaos, only the "A" field will run heads-up, with the "B" & "C" fields on an index, but when the final rounds come around, it's all-out heads-up racing.

Yesterday saw a full day of testing under warm, sunny skies, and there were some great looking new cars, lots of familiar faces, and some great performances. We haven't had time to go through all the video provided by CompetitionPlus.com.

The latest update as of March 26, 2024

Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals

64th annual Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals

With a threatening weather forecast for the afternoon, NHRA decided to start eliminations an hour earlier than normal. Thankfully, our hard working photographer, BIG Bob Snyder set his alarm clock for the time change and was on hand to capture all the action until the rains started again just after the semi-final rounds were completed.

TOP FUEL - Eliminations Round ONE

With just two sessions to get their tuneups sorted, the 15 racers on hand were at least guaranteed a spot in eliminations, providing they were able to stage the car under power once. All the racers managed that requirement, but the final qualifying list showed only 10 cars in the 3-second zone, and only seven in the 3.70's.

Antron Brown --- Krista Baldwin

(LEFT) Eliminations opened with the #8 and #9 qualifiers meeting in what is traditionally the most closely matched pair of the round. There was a gap of a full tenth of a second between their qualifying times, but when the ambers flashed it became a very tight race to the 1000' stripe. Antron Brown left first by a few thousandths, and posted a very good 3.743 - 329.18, but lost by just five thousandths of a second. Taking the win was Clay Millican (not shown), who put up a slightly better 3.730 - 332.34, but it came at a cost as the blower banged for the second run in a row. Besides a dead blower, the carbon fiber injector hat turned into some very expensive confetti.

(RIGHT) In the second pair out of the lanes, Krista Baldwin, in her newly acquired ex-Pat Dakin car, ran into early trouble with dropped cylinders. She kept on until the 660' mark before throwing in the towel and slowing to 4.370 - 193.82. In the other lane, Gatornationals winner Shawn Langdon (not shown), took full advantage of her plight, blasting out low e.t. of the meet with a brilliant 3.680 - 334.24 pass.

Doug Kalitta --- Shawn Reed

(LEFT) Langdon's teammate, Doug Kalitta, nearly matched his pace with a very quick 3.699 - 335.40 to advance to the second round. Not shown was his opponent, Jasmine Salinas, making her Top Fuel competition debut but had the throttle disconnect on the burnout, forcing the team to shut the engine down before staging.

(RIGHT) After a nearly four year absence, Shawn Reed is back with a new car and the financial backing to run the entire schedule in 2024. His Winternationals ended in a cloud of tire smoke and unburnt fuel as he lit the tires instantly and coasted to a 7.630 - 124.93. In the far lane, Justin Ashley (not shown) left strong but faded on the top end with a 3.831 - 317.87 clocking, the slowest winning time of the round to this point.

Brittany Force --- Billy Torrence

(LEFT) Taking the top spot in qualifying with a very good 3.711 - 335.73 earned Brittany Force a bye run in the first round. Seeing what the track could hold, crew chief David Grubnic nearly matched her qualifying e.t. with a great 3.714, coupled with a new top speed of the meet at 336.91 speed. The run also earned her lane choice over Clay Millican in the next round.

(RIGHT) Back for the full tour for the first time in a few years, "Captain Capco" Billy Torrence qualified strongly in the #3 position, and upped the ante a few hundredths with an excellent 3.716 - 335.98 to easily outrun Josh Hart (not shown). Hart left first by half a tenth, and held the lead until the 660' mark before a dropped cylinder slowed him, and crossed the finish line with a 3.903 - 274.61 pass.

Terry Totten --- Terry Totten

Coming from the bottom (#15) of the field, Nebraska's Terry Totten launched solidly, but ran into trouble early and coasted to an 8-second e.t. at 60mph, while Tony Schumacher (not shown) blasted out a consistent 3.752 - 329.83 to advance to the next round against Shawn Langdon.

Tony Stewart

The final pair of the round featured multi-time world champion Steve Torrence (not shown), against the Top Fuel "rookie" Tony Stewart. After a good start in his debut at Gainesville with a 3.725 qualifying effort, Stewart was stuck in the 4's until he went up in instant smoke and slowed to an 8-second losing pass. Running away with the win, Torrence stopped the clocks at 3.695 - 336.65 to earn lane choice over Justin Ashley in the quarter-final round.

FUNNY CAR - Eliminations Round ONE

The Funny Car pits were full, with 21 cars vying for the 16 spots in eliminations. While the bump spot was a rather weak 4.823 (Buddy Hull), the first alternate was a real shock as Alexis DeJoria failed to make the cut. The other four cars that were left by the wayside all had low 4-second runs - or better - to their credit, but with tricky track and weather conditions and just two chances to make the show, weren't able to get the power to the track long enough to qualify.

Dave Richards --- Bob Tasca III

(LEFT) In a departure from the norm, the #3 qualifier Bobby Bode, (not shown) elected to be in the first pairing, facing the Dave Richards machine. With serious backing, the Richards brothers are planning to run the entire circuit but they qualified near the bottom of the field with a mid 4-second effort. Things didn't get any better in eliminations, as he left late and ran into tire smoke early, clicking it off to a 8.35 - 92 mph clocking. Bode ran away for the win with his best pass of the event, a 3.964 - 291.51 that ended with lots of green flames and death smoke out of the pipes.

(RIGHT) Sporting a new Mustang-themed paint scheme, speed merchant Bob "Mr. 341" Tasca III didn't get out of the 4's in qualifying, and he didn't do any better here as, after a strong launch, the car dropped cylinders and slowed to a losing 4.307 - 217.88 pass. In the other lane, Paul Lee (not shown) improved on his qualifying time and carded a good 3.902 - 321.73 to move into the second round.

J.R. Todd --- Ron Capps (near lane) vs 
Austin Prock (far lane)

(LEFT) The Gainesville winner found himself all the way down in the #13 position in qualifying, but J.R. Todd launched well before the tires started spinning at half track and slowed him to a 4.278 - 216.17 pass. That should have been easy to beat for his opponent Cruz Pedregon (not shown), who left later and shut off a little earlier, losing with a 4.349 - 219.94 timeslip.

(RIGHT) A rather surprising first round match featured Gainesville runner-up Austin Prock (far lane), against former world champion Ron Capps, in the near lane. While Capps qualifying in the #2 position, Prock was all the way down in #15. It was a close race until just past the 660' mark, where Prock spun the tires and danced around in his lane before clicking it off to a 4.138 - 236.22. Capps pounded out low e.t. of the meet with a great 3.891 - 328.86 to move to the second round,

Matt Hagan --- Jim Campbell

(LEFT) Wearing the JHG colours this weekend, defending world champion Matt Hagan didn't quite match his low qualifying e.t., but his 3.909 - 329.67 obliterated the Jim Dunn-owned MoonEyes car with flopper rookie Buddy Hull at the tiller. Hull remained in the high 4.70's at less than 200 mph, with the tires breaking loose before half track as he did during qualfiying.

(RIGHT) Facing the "GOAT" John Force (not shown), was part-timer Jim Campbell who slid into the field in the final qualifying session, but saw his luck run out early with tire shake, a pedal, then an early shutoff at 7.842 - 83.03. Improving on his qualifying time was Force as he blitzed the timers with a very good 3.959 - 324.12 to earn lane choice over young Mr. Bode in the next round.

Terry Haddock --- Jeff Diehl

(LEFT) Moving up from also-ran to a real threat, Terry Haddock qualified in the top half of the field (#7) for only the second time in his career, with a great 3.999 - 308.50 effort. He kept things going in the first round by matching strides with Chad Green (not shown), before Green lifted and shut off to a 5-second e.t. Haddock had the engine get unhappy a little further down track , so he clicked it to a slowing, but winning, 4.459 - 229.51 that wasn't nearly enough to take lane choice from his second round opponent, Ron Capps.

(RIGHT) Closing out the round was SoCal veteran Jeff "The Surfer" Diehl who qualified well, in the 9th spot, with a good 4.050 - 306.81 that gave him lane choice over Dan Wilkerson (not shown). Wilkerson left first by a couple of hundredths, but the car drove into instantaneous tire smoke, forcing him to coast down to an 10-second e.t. Leaving him far behind was Diehl as he made a slight improvement on his qualifying time, lighting up the scoreboards with a solid 4.044 - 303.30 clocking. However, it didn't come close to matching Ron Capps' 3.89 pass, giving Capps the choice of lanes in the second round.

PRO STOCK - Eliminations Round ONE

As always seems to be the case, the Pro Stock field was tightly bunched with the gap between #1 (Dallas Glenn) at 6.536 down to #16 (Sienna Wildgust) anchoring the field at 6.625, less than a tenth of a second. Three of the four alternates were usually on the qualified list, but as with the other categories, only two chances to get the setup right caught them out.

Brandon Foster --- Troy Coughlin Jr.

(LEFT) Making only his second start in Pro Stock, Brandon Foster, part of the KB-Titan conglomerate, left the starting line more than a tenth behind Chris McGaha (not shown). But when McGaha started heading for the wall at the 330' mark, Foster pedalled his tire shaking entry and stood on the throttle long enough to register a 7.263 - 206.23 and turn on the winlight.


Eric Latino --- Eric Latino

Mason McGaha --- Mason McGaha

Kenny Delco --- Kenny Delco

Fernando Cuadra Jr. --- Fernando Cuadra Jr.

Sienna Wildgust --- Sienna Wildgust


Madison Payne --- Joey Severance



Baruc Llamas --- Johnny Ahten



Shawn Cowie --- Shawn Cowie


Julie Nataas --- Mitch Myers crewguy




Lee Hartman --- Anthony Troyer



Scott Libersher --- Tony Scott Jr.



TOP FUEL - Eliminations Round TWO

Brittany Force --- Justin Ashley



Shawn Langdon

FUNNY CAR - Eliminations Round TWO

John Force --- Ron Capps (near lane) vs 
Terry Haddock (far lane)



Paul Lee (near lane) vs 
J.R. Todd (far lane) --- Paul Lee



Jeff Diehl

PRO STOCK - Eliminations Round TWO

Erica Enders

Brandon Foster --- Brandon Foster

Matt Hartford --- Matt Hartford

Camrie Caruso --- Camrie Caruso

David Caudra --- David Caudra

NOSTALGIA FUNNY CAR - Eliminations Round ONE

Geoff Monise (left) vs 
Jeff Arend (right) --- Nathan Sitko (left) vs 
Kamaka Pocock (right)



Michael Peck (left) vs 
Ryan Horan (right) --- Don Knoblauch (left) vs 
Bobby Cottrell (right)



TOP ALCOHOL FUNNY CAR - Eliminations Round ONE

Annie Whiteley --- Shane Westerfield

(LEFT) Eliminations for the 8-car field began with Annie Whiteley ripping off an excellent 5.491 - 265.80 to set low e.t. of the meet and be the first car into the 5.40's. She left with an unreal .007 reaction time and easily outran her opponent to advance to the semi-finals.

(RIGHT) The racer that Whiteley eliminated was former world champion Shane Westerfield in the late Rick Jackson-owned car. He made his best pass of the event with a strong 5.543 - 264.96, but Whiteley's psychic leave put him two car lengths behind at the finish line.

Brian Hough --- Will Martin

(LEFT) The second pair of the round featured championship contender Brian Hough and he turned on the winlight with a very quick 5.494 - 266.64 that set top speed of the meet. It turned into an automatic win when his opponent redlighted.

(RIGHT) In the other lane was Will Martin, and the former nostalgia funny car racer, and son of the nitro funny car racer John "Jam-Air" Martin, turned on the red-light when he brought the revs up on the "two-step" launch control. It was all academic as Hough ran away from him.

Madison Gordon --- Scoreboards

(LEFT) Making her national event debut in front of a large Southern California audience, third-generation funny car racer Madison 'Maddi' Gordon had nothing but trouble during qualifying, shaking or smoking the tires on both attempt to sit at the bottom of the field. It all came good for the Gordon family team when she cranked out low e.t. of the meet with a brilliant 5.479 - 266.11 in her first round race.

(RIGHT) As you can see by the scoreboard shot, Gordon's numbers on the right side of the picture were better than the left side stats. Unfortunately for Ms. Gordon, her great run was pipped by just .003 due to Hunter Jones slight holeshot and his very good 5.490 - 263.62 clockings. After a few years of working his way up the ladder, Mr. Jones not only qualified #1, but took out the defending world champion car in the first round of eliminations.

Mike Doushgounian --- Ray Martin

(LEFT) The final pairing of the round featured two veteran flopper pilots, with Mike Doushgounian making a small improvement over his qualifying effort, clocking in at 5.515 - 262.59, coupled with an incredible .006 reaction time to take an easy win and advance to the semifinals and a meeting with Brian Hough.

(RIGHT) Dropping the decision against Doushgounian was Alaska's Ray Martin, who's taken over the seat in the M7 Performance car from Jake Guadagnolo this season. As you can see in the photo, he was falling well behind Doushgounian, and had the front wheels in the air, eventually going across the centerline and taking out the 660' timing blocks for the automatic loss.


Mike Coughlin --- Chris Demke



Garrett Bateman --- Ron Anderson



Shawn Cowie --- Shawn Cowie

Shawn Cowie

TOP FUEL - Eliminations Round THREE

Tony Schumacher (near lane) vs 
Billy Torrence (far lane) --- Brittany Force (near lane) vs 
Justin Ashley (far lane)



FUNNY CAR - Eliminations Round THREE

John Force (near lane) vs 
Ron Capps (far lane) --- J.R. Todd (near lane) vs 
Matt Hagan (far lane)



The latest update as of March 24, 2024

Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals

64th annual Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals

Things have been pretty quiet here for quite a while, but we're back in gear with the first part of our report from the Winternationals. We're starting with Saturday's second (final) qualifying sessions for Top Fuel and Funny Car, as they were two of the few categories that ran in between rain showers. Pro Stock and Top Alcohol (Dragster and Funny Car) also managed to squeeze in a second qualifier before the weather shut down action for the day. We've got the Top Fuel and Funny Car pics posted below, with captions and details to follow tomorrow.

We can also report that today's eliminations got through the semifinal rounds for the three Pro categories and to the semifinals for the Top Alcohol cars. However, the Sportsman categories and the Legends racers (Nostalgia Funny Car) only managed to complete one round of their eliminations. The latest report from NHRA states that the Pro cars will run their final rounds at the NHRA Arizona Nationals in two weeks time. At this time, no decisions have been made about when, or if, eliminations will be completed for any of the other categories.

With two races more or less completed, and both being weather affected, it's been somewhat of a rough start for NHRA's 2024 national event season.

TOP FUEL Qualifying - Session #2 (FINAL)

Justin Ashley (near lane) vs 
Josh Hart (far lane) --- Shawn Reed (near lane) vs 
Doug Kalitta (far lane)



Krista Baldwin (near lane) vs 
Tony Stewart (far lane) --- Tony Schumacher (near lane) vs 
Jasmine Salinas (far lane)



Clay Millican (near lane) vs 
Brittany Force (far lane) --- Shawn Langdon (near lane) vs 
Antron Brown (far lane)



Steve Torrence (near lane) vs 
Billy Torrence (far lane)

FUNNY CAR Qualifying - Session #2 (FINAL)

Alex Miladinovich --- Chris Morel (near lane) vs 
John Force (far lane)



Jim Campbell (near lane) vs 
Jason Rupert (far lane) --- Alexis DeJoria (near lane) vs 
Cruz Pedregon (far lane)



Steven Densham (near lane) vs 
Buddy Hull (far lane) --- Paul Lee (near lane) vs 
Ron Capps (far lane)



Bobby Bode II (near lane) vs 
Terry Haddock (far lane) --- Dave Richards



Matt Hagan --- Daniel Wilkerson



J.R. Todd (near lane) vs 
Bob Tasca III (far lane) --- Austin Prock (near lane) vs 
Chad Green (far lane)



The latest update as of March 23, 2024

Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals

64th annual Lucas Oil NHRA Winternationals

We're working through Friday's fotos, starting with the second - and what ultimately became - the final qualifying session for the Top Alcohol cars. With only eight Funny Cars on hand for a 16-car field, qualifying was guaranteed for everyone who made a qualifying attempt, while the dragsters had 17 cars to fill their 16-car field. And when the tire smoke cleared, there was one very big surprise on the list of non-qualifier(s). Occupying the ignominious #17 spot was multi-time world championship contender Shawn Cowie. Two tries, two immediate tire smoking results to leave him outside a national event field for the first time ever in a long career. However, the story doesn't end there, but you'll have to tune in to Tuesday's (March 26) update with the photos and descriptions from Sunday's eliminations to see how the Mundie's Towing team fared.

TOP ALCOHOL FUNNY CAR - Qualifying Session #2 (FINAL)

We start our Winternationals coverage with the second, and what ultimately became the final qualifying session for Top Alcohol Funny Car. With just eight cars entered, it didn't take too long to get through this session.

Mike Doushgounian --- Madison Gordon

(LEFT) Making his first appearance in the Miner Brothers car, Alaska's Ray Martin was hoping to get a time on the board, after breaking on the burnout in the first session. He made good on his second try, ringing up a decent 5.609 - 263.46 to slot into the #6 spot on the ladder.

(RIGHT) In her national event debut, Madison (Maddi) Gordon wanted a much better result than her first run of the weekend, which saw the car get sideways early, and shut off to a 10-second clocking. She ran into more trouble on this run, as the car shook very hard on the launch, and she coasted down to a 8.815 - 100.03, that left her at the bottom of the field.

Shane Westerfield --- Hunter Jones

(LEFT) With a new look to the car, and new sponsorship, Shane Westerfield fielded the Jackson family race car. He backed up his first session 5.60 pass with a consistent 5.636 - 262.85 flashing up on the scoreboard. That left him in the #5 spot in the field.

(RIGHT) Coming into the session in the #1 position, young Hunter Jones went slightly "over-center" and shook the tires hard. He still hung on to the top spot with his earlier 5.539 - 262.90 effort.

TOP ALCOHOL DRAGSTER - Qualifying Session #2 (FINAL)

Mitch Myers --- Trevor Larkin

(LEFT) With 17 cars in the pits, but only 16 recording a time in the first session, Mitch Myers was sitting on the bump spot with a 20-second elapsed time. He "improved" on that time with a tire smoking 8.471 - 117.01 to hang on to bump spot. The big news was that left Shawn Cowie (not shown, in the far lane) out of the field with an 11-second clocking, as he smoked the tires on the launch.

(RIGHT) Sporting a new look with major sponsorship, Trevor Larkin puffed the tires on the launch, pedalled and slowed to a 5.659 - 266.48, two tenth slower than his earlier 5.459 - 265.38. That left him in the bottom half of the field in the #9 position.

Joe Maynard --- Joey Severance

(LEFT) The rookie Joe C. Maynard was up next, hoping to continue his winning streak after winning the "Baby Gators" and the Gatornationals. His first run was decent, but he was looking for a big improvement in this round of qualifying. It didn't happen though, as he shook the tires, pedalled, and stopped the clocks with a slower 5.646 - 237.21. He dropped one spot in the order, as his earlier 5.398 wasn't quick enough to stay in the fast half of the field.

(RIGHT) Following Maynard was veteran Joey Severance in his blown alky car, and he was looking for better numbers than his first session 5.378 e.t. He ' didn't improve, and slowed slightly to a decent 5.446 - 263.51 to hang on to the #8 spot on the laddedr.

Chris Demke crew --- Chris Demke crew

We're not really sure why these two photos snuck into our coverage, but they show the Chris Demke crew adjusting the wheelie bar, then intently watching the car stage before he launched.

Chris Demke (near lane) 
vs Madison Payne (far lane) --- Mike Coughlin

(LEFT)In the near lane, Chris Demke laid down a good 5.377 - 270.37 pass. It was half a tenth slower than his earlier effort, but he was solidly ensconced in the #4 position. In the far lane, Madison Payne in the Duane Shields entry, ran into traction trouble and was forced to shut off to a 6.20 - 165.82 to remain in the #7 spot in the field.

(RIGHT) Coming into the session at the top of the qualifying list with his first round 5.232 - 271.84 clocking, Mike Coughlin failed to improve. He launched well, but ran into traction problems before the 330' mark and slowed to an 8-second time. With a final qualifying session scheduled for Saturday morning, there was one last chance remaining for everyone to improve and change the 8.471 bump spot.

PRO STOCK - Qualifying Session #1

Leading off professional qualifying were the Pro Stock cars as there was no Pro Stock Bike class at this event. With 20 cars entered there was guaranteed to be at least a small amount of qualifying drama for drivers near - or below - the bump spot.

Mason McGaha --- Chris McGaha

(LEFT) Leading off with Pro Stock cars, Mason McGaha was at the head of the staging lanes. He was looking for a big improvement over his season opening Gainesville race, where he, and his father, both failed to qualify. His weekend here didn't start well as seriously nasty tire shake forced him to pedal the car to get it under control and contributed to a mediocre 6.847 - 207.88 timeslip.

(RIGHT) Following his son in the right lane, Chris McGaha was hoping he wouldn't be following in the "basket-balled" tire tracks of Mason. Instead of another shaky run, he laid down a smooth and fairly quick 6.585 - 210.83 performance to grab the top rung on the ladder for at least a few minutes.

Camrie Caruso --- Jerry Tucker

(LEFT) In a new car for the 2024 season, Camrie Caruso did not run well at the Gatornationals, but put down a solid 6.588 - 208.62 to slot into the #2 position behind Chris McGaha. A good start to the weekend following some testing between Gainesville and Pomona.

(RIGHT) Putting down a good smoky burnout, Jerry Don Tucker drove the "Outlaw" entry to a decent 6.670 - 209.01 that was only good for the #6 spot with 12 car remaining in the lanes. It was stgarting to look like an elapsed time in the 6.50's was going to be needed to qualify for the event.

Fernando Cuadra Jr. --- Troy Coughlin Jr.

(LEFT) The first of the "Corral Boots" team cars was Fernando Caudra Jr. who put down a solid 6.637 - 209.14 in the Camaro entry. The rest of the team is still using Ford Mustangs.

(RIGHT) Very recognizable with the big "JEGS" banner on the door, Troy Coughlin Jr. broke into the 6.50's with a strong 6.595 - 210.87, that was good enough for the #4 spot on the ladder and currently the top speed recorded.

David Cuadra --- Jeg Coughlin Jr.

(LEFT) The other Mustang-bodied entry from the Corral Boots team, with David Caudra driving put down a solid 6.606 - 209.88 to grab a temporary hold on the #6 spot, but with six strong runners still waiting to make a pass, it certainly wouldn't hold up for a top half position on the ladder.

(RIGHT) Running a full season in 2024 with SCAG Power Equipment backing, Jeg Coughlin Jr. started his weekend with a very strong 6.573 - 211.20 to grab the #2 spot and set top speed so far.

Dallas Glenn --- Erica Enders

(LEFT) After a semifinal performance at Gainesville, Dallas Glenn was expecting to be near the top of the list, but ran a so-so 6.608 - 208.29 that was only good enough for the #12 position on the ladder.

(RIGHT) The final pair of the session featured the finalists from the Gatornationals, and this was no contest as the points leader, and defending series champion Erica Enders laid down the low e.t. and top speed of the round at 6.556 - 211.69. In the other lane (not shown), Cristian Caudra lost traction and shut off to a 9-second clocking.

After the first session, the field ranged from Enders at 6.556 to Jerry Tucker at 6.670. Of the 20 cars that attempted a pass, 18 carded a 6-second e.t. and only one (Deric Kramer) failed to generate a timeslip.

FUNNY CAR - Qualifying Session #1

After a quick track prep, the nitro cars made their first appearance, with the Funny Cars leading the way. The qualifying math was simple: 16 spots open in the field and 21 cars in the lanes. With a few part time runners in attendance, it was most likely going to be the "usual suspects" running in eliminations on Sunday. But with threatening weather in the weekend forecast, it was imperative that everyone made a solid run in the first session.

Alex Miladinovich --- Chris Morel

(LEFT) Making his first appearance in two years, after blowing up all his equipment at the 2022 Winternationals, So-Cal privateer Alex Miladinovich had the new "Hot 4 Teacher" flopper ready to rock but after rolling through the burnout box, lost fire before attempting his burnout.

(RIGHT) Another local-ish low-buck-ish racer, Chris Morel in the Reno-based "Little City Charger" got a little further than Miladinovich, by executing the burnout. But he had to be pushed back to the starting line, then was unable to move forward and was forced to shut off before staging. It was a tough start for Morel after sitting out two full seasons since his last appearance at the World Finals in 2021.

Jason Rupert --- Jeff Diehl (near lane) vs 
Steven Densham (far lane)

(LEFT) Another local racer, Jason Rupert in the "Bays & Rupert" tribute entry, came up and did manage to stage the car, leave... then go up in smoke. At least he got a timeslip, but a 7.608 - 90.68 was far from what they were expecting.

(RIGHT) Two more California cars paired up, with Jeff Diehl (near lane) blasting out near career bests at 4.050 - 306.81 to take the early, and very provisional, pole position. In the far lane, Steven Densham in the Densham family hot rod, and sporting a FOR SALE sign on the front fender, went up in smoke instantly and shut off to an 11-second time.

Dave Richards --- Jim Campbell

(LEFT) With some serious sponsorship behind them from "Versatrans", the Richards brothers, with Dave Richards driving and brother Paul tuning, are planning to run the entire Mission Foods Series in 2024. They had a tough time at the Gatornationals, not qualifying, but came into Pomona looking for much better results. After sitting at the starting line for quite a while after the ambers flashed, he launched and ran well to half track before shutting off to a 4.502 - 205.44 to grab a tenuous hold on the #2 spot on the ladder.

(RIGHT) The new season blues continued for Jim Campbell as the "Last Exit" car broke on the burnout and came to a locked up stop just past the Christmas tree. After he exited the car, the car in the other lane was able to make a run.

Buddy Hull --- Cruz Pedregon (near lane) 
vs Paul Lee (far lane)

(LEFT) The "car in the other lane" was none other than the Jim Dunn-owned and tuned "Mooneyes" Special, with Buddy Hull behind the wheel. While Buddy has some experience in Top Fuel, this is his first season driving a short wheelbase ill-handing Funny Car. He lost traction early and shut off to a 6-second clocking.

(RIGHT) Two series regulars with lots of experience came up next, with Paul Lee in the far lane, and Cruz Pedregon in the "Snap-On" Dodge in the near lane. You might expect to see side-by-side 3-second, 300+ mph passes from them, but when the timers finally stopped, they read 6-second at barely 100 mph for each of them, as they went into syncronized tire smoke before the 330' timers.

Terry Haddock --- Terry Haddock (near lane) vs 
Daniel Wilkerson (far lane)

(LEFT) With a well presented car and capable of running low 4.0 and high 3.9 elapsed times, Terry Haddock was looking for some solid performances in 2024. He ran a 3.989 at Gainesville and was looking for something similar here.

(RIGHT) Facing Haddock in the far lane was Daniel Wilkerson now taking over the driving chores in the Tim Wilkerson owned and tuned "SCAG" entry and he finally ousted Jeff Diehl from the top qualifying spot with a solid 4.014 - 314.31 pass. Haddock was right with him until about the 450' mark, before losing traction and banging the blower enroute to a 4.669 - 188.31 pass. With five pairs remaining in the lanes, that pass guaranteed Haddock a spot in the field after the first session.

John Force (near lane) vs 
Alexis DeJoria (far lane) --- Sunoco Vision

(LEFT) With the heavy hitters coming on deck, it was almost certain that we'd see a side-by-side 3-second race between John Force (near lane) and Alexis DeJoria in the far lane. However, it wasn't to be as both drivers got out of shape, DeJoria early, and Force a little later.

(RIGHT) Here's the Sunoco vision view of the two cars as Force (left side) crosses the centerline at the 660' mark, while DeJorias looks like her car is under control and pointed in a reasonably straight direction. However, a little further down track, she tagged the wall and disqualified her run. With both drivers DQ'd, there was still no ' bump spot and only ten drivers had received an elapsed time.

Ron Capps (near lane) vs 
Matt Hagan (far lane) --- Bob Tasca III (near lane) vs 
Chad Green (far lane)

(LEFT) Two more of the stronger cars in the field faced off next, with Ron Capps in the very familiar "NAPA" car in the near lane, and Matt Hagan in the "JHG" (Johnson's Horsepowered Garage) Dodge Charger Hellcat in the far lane. Both cars lost traction, but Capps did it first, and Hagan got to the finish line first with a slightly less than scintillating 4.454 - 195.59 to his credit.

(RIGHT) Another couple of Top Ten cars came up and while they both made it down the track without serious problems, neither was able to grab the top spot away from Dan Wilkerson. Chad Green (far lane) left second but finished first with a decent 4.110 - 302.96 for the #3 position, with Bob Tasca III (near lane) shut off early but still carded a 4.201 at only 247.93 for the #4 rung on the ladder.

J.R. Todd (near lane) vs 
Austin Prock (far lane)

And then there were too, with rookie Funny Car driver Austin Prock in the far lane, facing J.R. Todd in the near lane. They both smoked the tires and pedalled to a 4.615 - 272.56 for the #7 position for Todd, and a slower 4.758 - 229.31 for young Mr. Prock. That left him in the #7 position after the first session of qualifying.

Of the 21 cars that attempted a pass, only 18 made it down the track, only 16 got a timelsip and the bump spot ended up at 11.841 (Steven Densham). On top was Dan Wilkerson at 4.014, and very surprisingly Jeff Diehl was #2 at 4.050, as the only other car in the 4.0's in the session.

TOP FUEL - Qualifying Session #1

With only 15 cars entered, as long as the drivers could all light the stage bulbs and take the tree, they would be qualified for eliminations on Sunday. With the amount of freak breakage in the Funny Car session, it remained to be seen if the long skinny cars could live up their billing and put on a show for the fans that ventured out to In-N-Out Burger Dragstrip on Friday afternoon.

Jasmine Salinas --- Terry Totten (near lane) vs 
Krista Baldwin (far lane)

(LEFT) Making her national event debut in Top Fuel was Jasmine Salinas. While it was planned for her to run a second "Scrappers Racing" entry this season, her father Mike stepped out of the cockpit of his car to deal with some health problems, leaving young Jasmine to take over the driving chores, at least temporarily. With three seasons of experience in an A/Fuel car in Top Alcohol Dragster, she wasn't exactly a rookie, but there were some very big shoes to fill in her father's car. She ran hard to the 660' timers before clicking it off to a 4.270 -201.22 timeslip.

(RIGHT) With a new look and new sponsor on his car, Nebraska's Terry Totten (near lane) faced off against Krista Baldwin (far lane), in the new to her ex-Pat Dakin car. Neither driver got the result they were looking for as Totten was up in smoke right off the line and Baldwin followed suit soon after. A 5.608 for Baldwin and 6.636 for Totten were nothing to get excited about.

Brittany Force (near lane) vs 
Clay Millican (far lane) --- Tony Stewart (near lane) vs 
Shawn Reed (far lane)

(LEFT) Two cars that usually run later in a qualifying session, but because they didn't do well at the Gators, ran early here, were Brittany Force in the near lane and Clay Millican in the far lane). They didn't disappoint, especially Ms. Force as she rocked the scoreboards with a great 3.783 - 330.39 to jump into the top qualifying spot. Staying with her until just past the 660's timing blocks, Millican broke into the 3's with a decent 3.902 at only 296.05 to slot in behind Force in the #2 spot. The bad news for Millican was a blown engine, a fireball and oil on the track - for the second time in two races - and a 10-point penalty.

(RIGHT) Top Fuel rookie Tony Stewart (near lane) faced off against Shawn Reed who is back on the tour on a full-time basis for 2024. Neither driver received the results they were looking for as Reed shut off early after puffing the tires early and stopped the timers at 6.656, while Stewart kept the tires hooked up for a little longer and broke into the 4's with a 4.839 - 148.95 set of times.

Josh Hart (near lane) vs 
Tony Schumacher (far lane) --- Doug Kalitta (near lane) vs 
Justin Ashley (far lane)

(LEFT) Another pair, and nothing to write home about. In the near lane Josh Hart was only able to card a 6-second time in the "R+L Carriers" car, while in the far lane, Tony Schumacher went a little further before the "Leatherwood Distilleries" car lost traction and shut off to a 4.829 clocking. After nine cars went down the track, only two ran in the 3-second zone, and only one, Brittany Force made a full pass.

(RIGHT) Unbeliveably, two of the most consistent cars of the 2023 season both failed to get down the increasingly perplexing Pomona dragstrip. World Champion Doug Kalitta (near lane) and Justin Ashley (far lane) both lit the tires, Ashley instantly on the green, enroute to a 10-second pass, and Kalitta almost to the 330' mark before lighting them up and coasting to a 5-second time.

Billy Torrence (near lane) vs 
Antron Brown (far lane) --- Shawn Langdon (near lane) vs 
Steve Torrence (far lane)

(LEFT) With just two pairs left to run, and the shadows lengthening and the track cooling, everyone was hoping to see some seriously good side-by-side racing to close out the round. In the near lane, returning veteran Billy Torrence (back on the tour full time for the first time since 2021) made it look easy as he laid down a new low e.t. with a great 3.745 - 330.47 to set the top numbers for the category and take away the #1 qualifying spot from Brittany Force. Almost unnoticed in the far lane was Antron Brown who only fell back in the last few hundred feet before stopping the clocks with a very good 3.807 -322.11 for the #3 spot in the field.

(RIGHT) The final pair of the session tried hard but weren't able to bump "Captain CAPCO" (Billy Torrence) out of the top spot. Gainesville winner Shawn Langdon, in the near lane, ran hard until just before the finish line where he banged the blower and slowed to a 3.788 - 318.24 that landed him in the #4 spot. In the far lane, Steve Torrence kept it running on all cylinders right through the lights, with the scoreboard flashing up a 3.750 - 328.30 that placed him second on the ladder at the close of the session.

After a slow start to the session, four cars managed to drop into the 3.70's and two more landed in the 3-second zone. From there the e.t.'s plummeted all the way down to Justin Ashley's 10.560 for the 15th and final qualifying position. With a dire weather forecast on tap for Saturday it was looking like the numbers in this first session might be all we'd see until Sunday.

NOSTALGIA FUNNY CAR - Qualifying Session #1

Derrick Moreira --- Ryan Horan (near lane) vs 
Tim Boychuk (far lane)



Don Knoblauch (near lane) vs 
Kamaka Pocock (far lane) --- Michael Peck (near lane) vs 
Geoff Monise (far lane)



Bobby Cottrell (near lane) vs 
Nathan Sitko (far lane) --- Jeff Arend (near lane) vs 
Jon Capps (far lane)



The latest update as of March 9, 2024

Good Vibrations March Meet

With a reprieve from the weather gods, eliminations were completed on time on a very busy Sunday. Due to the intermittent rain on Saturday, all four rounds of Funny Car eliminations, plus the three rounds for Top Fuel and Fuel Altered were completed under mainly sunny skies. We haven't got a lot of photos to show, but the quality certainly makes up for the quantity.

Famoso Dragstrip - March Meet

One of the most iconic "A" boards in drag racing, the Famoso Dragstrip sign shows the 66th annual Good Vibrations March Meet is running in/near Bakersfield, California. A hallowed patch of ex-WWII airfield asphalt that still resonates with the sounds and smell of nitro several times each year.


Tyler Hilton - AA/FD --- Pete Wittenberg - AA/FD

(LEFT) In the opening round of eliminations, defending series champion, Tyler Hilton in the "Great Expectations III" smoked the tires early and fell to Tyler Hester. Hilton's 9-second run was far behind Hester's early shut-off (800') winning pass of 5.908 at only 194.86 mph.

(RIGHT) Next up were the two most closely matched qualifers, the #4 and #5 cars. Holding lane choice by only a hundredth of a second, Pete Wittenberg took out the challenger from Texas, Michael Anderson, as the Texan slowed to a mid 6-second clocking, while Wittenberg kept the hammer down all the way with a winning 5.720 - 250.13 pass. The e.t. was nearly a full tenth of a second quicker than his #4 qualifying pass in the "Circuit Breaker".

Adam Sorokin - AA/FD --- Adam Sorokin - AA/FD

Starting eliminations from the #3 rung on the ladder, the Adam Sorokin driven "Champion Speed Shop" entry looked good as he pulled into the staging beams, but it all came undone quickly as he smoked the tires after leaving first by a full tenth over Bret Williamson. While Sorokin coasted to the finish line with a 10-second pass, Williamson easily advanced to the semifinals with a 5.875 -249.53 timeslip.

Tyler Hester - AA/FD

Opening the semifinal round without lane choice, Tyler Hester in the "Overtime Special", took out Pete Wittenberg in the closest race of the event. Heser left first by .038 and ran three thousandths quicker to take a less than a car length victory. The verdict read: Hester 5.725 - 261.67 (top speed of the meet), versus Wittenberg's very good 5.728 - 250.78 losing effort.

Bret Williamson - AA/FD --- Shawn Bowen - AA/FD

(LEFT) In the other semifinal pairing, Bret Williamson in the "Forever Young" entry was ready to take on a very tough opponent who had travelled a long way to contend for a March Meet victory. It was a close race of the line and Williamson was right there until he had a quick pedal near the 1000' mark, and could only muster a 6.077 - 245.00 in what became a losing effort.

(RIGHT) As the two cars staged for the right to face Tyler Hester in the final round, Bowen (accidentally?) whacked the throttle, but held in the beams long enough to make a green light start and kept the pedal all the way down to the finish line with a solid 5.978 - 249.49 clocking that took the winlight by nearly two car lengths. Even though he won the round, Hester's much quicker pass held lane choice for the final.

Tyler Hester (near lane) vs Shawn Bowen 
(far lane) - AA/FD

It was another strange starting line show for Shawn Bowen (far lane), as he pulled into full stage, whacking the throttle and bringing the revs way up before the ambers flashed. He was able to leave first by a few hundredths, but just past half track started heading for the centerline, forcing him to lift and cruise to the finish line with a 7.649 - 122.88 time. In the near lane, Tyler Hester kept the candles lit all the way enroute to another great pass, a 5.775 - 258.57 that turned on the final winlight of the event.


Qualifying whittled down the 23 entries to the "Quick 16" for Sunday's eliminations. With the surprise low qualifier, Shane Westerfield, sitting at the top of the ladder with a tremendous 5.613 - 258.57 effort, and Cameron Ferre on the bubble with a very respectable 5.924 - 244.83, it was shaping up to be a very exciting day of racing. Even the list of non-qualifiers included some quality teams and the quickest two alternateds in the 5-second zone.

Cameron Ferre - AA/FC --- Drew Austin - AA/FC

(LEFT) Eliminations opened with a huge upset, as #16 qualifier Cameron Ferre blew away Shane Westerfield (not shown), nearly matching low e.t. of the meet, with an excellent 5.618 - 244.87 winning pass. The only dark shadow on the win was a huge cloud of "death" smoke at the finish line, meaning some serious thrashing was going to be required to turn the car around for the next round.

(RIGHT) After a couple of 7-second passes, the "Pro-Max" team, with young Drew Austin driving, jumped into the #13 spot in the last qualifying session, with a solid 5.753 - 245.00 pass. He backed that up with a winning 5.745 - 232.91 over Derrick Moreira (not shown), to advance to the quarter-final round.

Jon Capps - AA/FC

In the second round, Jon Capps kept the beat going with a win over Geoff Monise (not shown), as he covered the "Quarter Pounder"'s early shutoff 6-second pass, with a great 5.803 - 253.04 to advance to the semifinals for the first time.... ever?

Jeff Arend - AA/FC --- Cory Lee - AA/FC

(LEFT) Next up was Funny Car veteran Jeff Arend, driving the "Nitro Nick" '78 Firebird of Matt Bynum. He had a very tough ask in this round, facing five-time defending series champion Bobby Cottrell (not shown), but when Cottrell's 'chute came out on the launch, it was all over. Arend pounded out a great 5.713 - 246.30 to advance to the semi=finals.

(RIGHT) Joining him in the next round was Cory Lee, in Gary Turner's "Pedaler", as he dispatched another Northwest "hitter", Drew Austin (not shown), with a very quick 5.683 at a booming top speed of the meet 260.36 mph. That was more than enough to give him lane choice in the semi-finals.

The semis saw two runaway wins, with Jeff Arend (not shown), advancing with a 19-second pass over a broken (on the burnout), Jon Capps, while Cory Lee won over Cameron Ferre with another very quick and fast pass, a 5.714 - 259.01 over a slowing Cameron Ferre in the "Johnny On Thin Ice" '70 Trans-Am. Lee's run gave him lane choice in the final by a very wide margin.

The final round matched two very experienced "Big Show" fuel funny car drivers, with Cory Lee coming out on top with his quickest run of the event, a 5.658, with another big speed at 260.01 to show that they had the car absolutely dialed in. Even though Lee left second, by just a hundredth of a second, he finished several car lengths in front of his very worthy opponent, Jeff Arend, who trailed through the traps with a slowing 5.829 - 236.92 set of times.

FUEL ALTERED - Eliminations

After three rounds of qualifying, the ten entrants were whittled down to eight, but when the "Sheepherder, being driven by Cory Lee, reported in as broken, the first alternate, and very long-time fuel racing veteran, Rodney Flournoy, was inserted into the field. He didn't last long though, as in the opening pair of eliminations he was blown away by #1 qualifier, Matt Leonard, 6.018 - 233.80 to a losing 16.483 - 65.70.

Lyle Greenberg (near lane) vs 
Johnny West (far lane) - AA/FA

The "Cone Hunter" of New Mexico's Lyle Greenberg (near lane) found a little luck when Johnny West (far lane), got out of shape at 900', and center-punched the 1000' timing block. The automatic win for Greenberg made his 6.446 - 157.93 the winning time, while West pushed the foam block across the finish line and stopped the clocks at a quicker 6.257 - 206.07 in a losing effort.

Mark Whynaught - AA/FA --- Keith Wilson - AA/FA

(LEFT) Launching hard and running strong all the way to the finish line, Mark Whynaught stopped the timers at 5.970 - 217.35, but it was a shade too quick against Ron Capps's (not shown) safe 6.402 - 221.45 pass.

(RIGHT) In the final pairing of the round, the ultra evil-looking "Witch Doctor" '39 Fiat Toplino of Keith Wilson powered to an easy win with a solid 6.163 - 179.83 (off the throttle VERY early) over the "Pure Hell" '32 Bantam in the far lane.

Brian Hope - AA/FA --- Brian Hope - AA/FA

Driving that recreation of an early 60's Awful/Awful was Tennessee's Brian Hope. As you can see, he got well out of shape on the burnout, showing true fuel altered style, then launched with what appears to be at least one cylinder misfiring, before limping to a 7.240 - 139.78 time.

Lyle Greenberg - AA/FA --- Lyle Greenberg - AA/FA

(LEFT) In the semifinal round, Lyle Greenberg picked up the pace a little with a 6.328 - 200.74 to easily defeat Ron Capps, (not shown), who could only muster an early shutoff 7.246 - 133.16 in the "Burkholder Bros." '37 Topolino.

(RIGHT) With the sun set, and the lights on, the final round featured Keith Wilson (not shown), against Lyle Greenberg. After flirting with the 6.00-index in the first two rounds, with 6.163 and 6.062 e.t.'s, Wilson let it all hang out in the final with an insanely quick 5.777, at "only" 225.15 mph, to break out by a BUNCH. The recipient of the gift win was Greenberg, who bogged off the line and coasted to a 14-second timeslip. The slow roll down the track gave him a great view of Wilson giving away a certain victory with a way-too-fast pass. As the cliche reads: sometimes it's better to be lucky than good.

Lyle Greenberg - AA/FA --- Lyle Greenberg - AA/FA

Two views of the winner: the car sitting in the winner's circle, waiting for the crew to show up (left) and on the right, the entire crew, with Lyle Greenberg holding the big trophy and crew chief Jake Sanders to his left. A well deserved win for a hard working team.

The latest update as of March 8, 2024

Good Vibrations March Meet

It's been a very busy week and we simply haven't had the time to do more than post the photos from Saturday's final qualifying session. We will get the eliminations photos (from Sunday) posted on March 10th but it might be a day or two more before we can fill in all the details. Sometimes "real life" gets in the way of the fun stuff. As always: STAY TUNED !

FUNNY CAR - Qualifying Session #2 (FINAL)

Michael Peck Sr. - AA/FC --- Kamaka Pocock - AA/FC



Matt Melendez - AA/FC --- Tim Boychuk - AA/FC



Bobby Cottrell - AA/FC --- Drew Austin - AA/FC



Nathan Sitko - AA/FC --- Terry Jongewaard - AA/FC



James Day - AA/FC --- Jeff Arend - AA/FC



Chris Davis - AA/FC --- Chris Davis - AA/FC

TOP FUEL DRAGSTER - Qualifying Session #3 (FINAL)

Shawn Van Horn - AA/FD --- Pete Kaiser - AA/FD



Shawn Bowen - AA/FD --- Michael Anderson - AA/FD



FUEL ALTERED - Qualifying Session #2 (FINAL)

Ron Capps - AA/FA --- Lyle Greenberg - AA/FA



Keith Wilson - AA/FA

The latest update as of March 3, 2024

Good Vibrations March Meet

The first day of nitro qualifying on Friday is presented below. We're anxiously awaiting the final qualifying photos from Saturday and of course, eliminations on Sunday, but in the meantime, we've got a bit of work to do on putting captions to all the photos. Be patient, we're working on it. Remember to reload/refresh each time you visit to see the latest updates.

TOP FUEL - Qualifying Session #1

Pete Kaiser - AA/FD --- Pete Kaiser - AA/FD

After making one appearance in 2022, at the season closing California Hot Rod Reunion (where he runner-upped), Pete Kaiser was back in the saddle at the March Meet. On his first competition pass in nearly 18 months he merely ripped off low e.t. of the first session with a very good 5.735, coupled with a booming 255.82 speed. Definitely no rust on the driver, the car, or the team.

Tyler Hester - AA/FD --- Shawn Bowen - AA/FD

(LEFT) Wheeling the "Overtime Special" to an early shutoff 6.043 - 188.20 was Tyler Hester. A decent start, but the incremental numbers indicated there was some serious performance lurking in the Donovan engine.

(RIGHT) Making the long trek from Michigan was veteran racer and chassis builder Shawn Bowen, but he didn't get the result he was looking for with a very early shutoff 6.589 - 144.15 from his late model Brad Anderson motor. After failing to qualify at last year's March Meet, he was certainly hoping for much better results this year.

Shayne Stewart - AA/FD --- Dusty Green - AA/FD

(LEFT) The Sullivan & Stewart entry, with Shayne Stewart driving, failed to get a timeslip when he "double-stepped" on the loud pedal, leaving the line before the tree activated and received a "LB3A" (left before three ambers), and consequently, "no time recorded". With threatening weather in the forecast for the entire event, that mistake might cost them a chance to qualify.

(RIGHT) Joining the "click it early" brigade was Dusty Green, who ran strong to half track before slowing to a 6.232 - 194.46. Despite the early shutoff, it was good enough for Green to grab a (very) tenuous hold on the #8 spot.

FUNNY CAR - Qualifying Session #1

Jeff Utterback - AA/FC --- Kamaka Pocock - AA/FC

(LEFT) Despite the preponderance of Camaros and Firebirds in the pits, Jeff Utterback brought out the "Advanced Surfaces" old school Vega to take a shot at qualifying. He launched well, with the front wheels off the concrete, but the good vibes didn't last long as he shut down to an 11-second clocking.

(RIGHT) At the other end of the performance spectrum, Kamaka Pocock pushed Don Nelson's "California Hustler" to the #5 spot on the ladder with a very strong 5.728 - 246.84 run. A great start to their season.

Geoff Monise - AA/FC --- Rian Konno - AA/FC

(LEFT) Following on the heels of a very strong 2023 season, Geoff Monise and the "Quarter Pounder" team picked up right where they left off, blasting into the 5.60's with a 5.672 - 255.39, good enough for the #2 spot at the end of the first qualifying session. They've really stepped up their performances over the past few seasons.

(RIGHT) The oldest Mustang-bodied car in the field came up next, with Rian Konno at the tiller in the "Kajanzian, Lemon & Konno" car. Their opening pass was aborted early, with a 9.307 at only 83.68 coming up on the scoreboards. Despite the slow e.t., it still gave a toehold in the 16-car field, albeit on the bump spot.

Cory Lee - AA/FC --- Michael Peck Sr. - AA/FC

(LEFT) Jack-of-all-trades tuner, driver, crewman, Cory Lee showed up in Gary Turner's "Pedaller" Dodge Challenger, and made a strong pass into the middle of the field, landing in the #8 position with an excellent 5.803 - 253.75 pass. They started the week without a blower but a last minute aquisition had them motoring up the Grapevine on Thursday morning and into the show on Friday afternoon.

(RIGHT) The first of the Northwest contingent was next out of the lanes, with Washington state's Michael Peck Sr. in the Camaro-bodied "Instigator". Even with a "slow" 225.48 mph, the 5.778 e.t. moved them into the #7 rung on the ladder. One can only imagine what the result would have been with a full 1320 foot pass.

Stephen Romanazzi - AA/FC --- Jerry Espeseth - AA/FC

(LEFT) Coming back to the sport at the end of the 2023 season after a long absence, Stephen "Romo" Romanozzi launched hard with the front wheels dangling off the starting line, but with a DNQ recorded on the qualifying list, either oiled the track or crossed the centerline to negate his timeslip.

(RIGHT) After two years without a winlight, Jerry Espeseth was looking to make some noise with the ex-Jason Rupert "Atlas Labs" Camaro and he started on the right foot with a very good 5.740 - 255.24 to grab the provisional #6 position on the qualifying sheet.

Drew Austin - AA/FC --- Bobby Cottrell - AA/FC

(LEFT) The only Ford-powered Mustang in the field, third-generation racer Drew Austin ran strong for a few hundred feet before problems set in, forcing him to shut down to a 7.185 - 134.26. Despite the slow e.t. he still grabbed a spot near the bottom of the field in the #15 position.

(RIGHT) Closing out our first qualifying session photos was the "Northwest Hitter" of Bucky Austin, driven by six-time defending Funny Car champion in the Heritage Series, Bobby Cottrell. He picked up right where he left off at the end of the 2023 season, pounding out low e.t and top speed of the first session, with a brilliant 5.635 - 256.94 time. With 20 wins in the 29 Heritage races he's entered, it could well be more of the same for the Northwest team in 2024.

FUEL ALTERED - Qualifying Session #1

Johnny West - AA/FA --- Cory Lee - AA/FA

(LEFT) It looked very good for quite a whlle, but Johnny West ran into some serious directional instability as he approached the 1000' mark in his "Plan A" 23-T roadster. While the scoreboard lit up to the tune of 6.17 - 219.76, the times were DQ'd as he took out all the finish line timing blocks.


Brian Hope - AA/FA --- Ron Capps - AA/FA


(RIGHT) Taking his annual "busman's holiday" in the "Burkholder Bros." '37 Fiat, world champion Funny Car driver Ron Capps wrestled the very short wheelbase machine down the Famoso strip yet again. It ran well until just past half track before it started skating around and heading for the centerline - does that sound familiar for AA/FA? - forcing him to click it early and post a 6.658 - 205.32 to take the #4 spot on the ladder.

The latest update as of March 1, 2024

Good Vibrations March Meet

It took a while, aided by a desk clerk at our photographer's hotel that couldn't spell the wi-fi password correctly... but we've received our first batch of photos from the Good Vibrations March Meet. It's a selection taken during Thursday afternoon's Nitro Test session and it covers all three blown fuel categories in competition at Bakersfield. We've got some of the numbers recorded for Funny Car and Fuel Altered, but unfortunately, not Top Fuel.

Tomorrow, we'll have Friday's qualifying photos and hope to have the balance of thw weekend pics by Monday so that we can put together our full coverage of the meet. Stay tuned for updates as they happen.

Geoff Monise (near lane) vs Kamaka Pocock (far 
lane) - AA/FC --- Shane Westerfield (near lane) vs Rian Konno (far lane) - 

(LEFT) Opening the session was the "Quarter Pounder" Camaro, driven by Geoff Monise (near lane) and he dropped a bomb on his competitors with an out-of-the- trailer 5.632 - 254.09 to set a very high bar for the class. In the far lane, and mostly obscured, was Don Nelson's "California Hustler", with transplanted Hawaiian, Kamaka Pocock at the wheel, who ran hard to the 900' mark before clicking it off to a 6.178 - 177.79 clocking.

(RIGHT) There was one big change made to Eddie Knox's "Problem Child" entry over the winter, with former world champion (Top Alcohol Funny Car) Shane Westerfield taking over the driving duties. He tested the waters with a half track pass of 6.766 - 118.00. In the far lane, and again, mostly obscured, was Rian Konno in the familiar "Lemon & Kajanzian" Mustang, but it didn't get very far before shutting off to a 31-second time.

Tyler Hester (near lane) vs Michael Anderson (far 
lane) - AA/FD --- Brendan Murry (near lane) vs Tyler Hilton (far lane) - 

(LEFT) Top Fuel time came up next, with the "Overtime Special", driven by Tyler Hester (near lane) running against Texan Michael Anderson in the far lane.

(RIGHT) Almost completely hidden in the far lane was the 2023 Heritage Series champion, Tyler Hilton in the "Great Expectations III", while in the near lane was long-time competitor Brendan Murry in the now Hemi-powered "Runnin' Wild" entry.

Rodney Flournoy - AA/FA --- Tim Boychuk - AA/FC



Matt Melendez - AA/FC --- Terry Jongewaard - AA/FC



Lyle Greenberg - AA/FA --- Lyle Greenberg - AA/FA

Cory Lee - AA/FC --- Frank McBee Jr. (near lane) vs Bret Williamson 
(far lane) - AA/FD



Eily Stafford - AA/FA --- Eily Stafford - AA/FA

Drew Austin - AA/FC --- Michael Anderson (near lane) vs Adam Sorokin 
(far lane) - AA/FD



Lyle Greenberg - AA/FA

The latest update as of February 27, 2024

Good Vibrations March Meet

Yes, it's that time again... almost. Tomorrow the 66th annual Good Vibrations March Meet unofficially kicks off with a test 'n tune session for the Group 1 & 2 racers at Famoso Dragstrip. Then things amp up considerably on Thursday with qualifying all day for the sportsman racers, and a 4-hour Nitro test session starting at 2:00 pm. Then Friday sees the first day of qualifying for the really fast cars, with two sessions for Top Fuel and Funny Car, and a single go-round for the Fuel Altereds.

Looking at the event schedule seems to indicate that there will be a 16-car Top Fuel field for the first time in a very long while. They advertised the larger field at last year's event, but it was reduced to an 8-car eliminator, even though 16 cars attempted to qualify. Maybe this year? The Funny Car field will certainly be 16-strong, while the Fuel Altereds will be capped at eight cars for eliminations.

The best news we can report at this time is that our Colorado correspondent, Dale Fackler, is enroute to Bakersfield and will be providing us with wall-to-wall coverage of the race for the second year in a row. We hope to have our first installment of his photos, and our commentary, on this page on Friday. Watch for it!

The latest update as of February 25, 2024

NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series - Division 7

NHRA Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series - Division 7 doubleheader and West Regional

We've got a bit of a bonus to post, as our Arizona correspondent and photographic ace, Bob Snyder made the short drive to Firebird Motorsports Park (aka: Wild Horse Pass Motorsports Park) for the weekend's first West Region event of the 2024 season. He captured all the alcohol eliminations action, which we are proud to present below. Captions to follow on Tuesday.

Top Alcohol Dragster - Round ONE eliminations

After a day of testing and a full day of qualifying, the 10 dragsters entered in the event were whittled down to the top eight for eliminations. While the bump spot wasn't super stout, at 5.546 (Casey Grisel), the seven cars above him clocked in at 5.388 or better. Leading the way, as he so often does, was Canada's Shawn Cowie, with an awesome 5.181 - 279.96, numbers that held up for low e.t. and top speed of the meet. An interesting sidenote was the parity of the field, with four A/FD's and an equal number of blown alky cars qualified.

Chris Demke (near lane) vs 
Joey Severance (far lane) --- Taylor Vetter (near lane) vs 
Eric Chesleigh (far lane)

(LEFT) The first pair out of the lanes featured a pair of blown cars, with former world champion (2014), Chris Demke in the Jerry Maddern car (near lane) facing four-time champion Joey Severance in the far lane. It was all over very quickly as Demke went up in smoke as soon as he dropped the clutch. Meanwhile, Severance sped down track to his quickest run of the weekend, a 5.314 - 270.27 to advance into the semifinals.

(RIGHT) Up next were a pair of Red Line Oil backed cars, with the injected nitro burner of Eric Chesleigh in the far lane, and the blown alcohol car of Taylor Vetter in the near lane. The picture shows Chesleigh leaving first, but that was due to a major (-.192) redlight. Despite the automatic win, Vetter laid down a very good 5.269-276.35 winning time, crossing the finish line ahead of Chesleigh's losing 5.403 - 264.70 effort.

Johnny Ahten (near lane) vs 
Madison Payne (far lane) --- Casey Grisel (near lane) vs 
Shawn Cowie (far lane)

(LEFT) It was all-nitro matchup next, with Johnny Ahten (near lane) facing Madison Payne (far lane) in the Duane Shields-owned "Muscle Milk" car. There was no supsense when the ambers flashed as Payne roasted the hides instantly, and coasted to an 18-second e.t. Taking full advantage of her plight was Ahten, as he put down his best run of the event, with a solid 5.329 - 270.16 flashing up on the scoreboard.

(RIGHT) The round closed with the top qualifier facing the #8 qualifier. In the near lane it was Casey Grisel in the Jerry Darien-owned and tuned A/fueler, against the always hard running Shawn Cowie in the far lane. The second red light of the round came up on Grisel's side of the tree, wasting his best run of the event, a 5.414 - 270.97. Despite the starting line disadvantage, due to Grisel's redlight, Cowie passed him before half track and motored on to a best of the round 5.208 278.35 to move into the semifinal. Cowie's run also gave him lane choice over arch-rival Joey Severance, while Taylor Vetter earned her choice over Johhny Ahten.

Top Alcohol Funny Car - Round ONE eliminations

With just six cars in the pits, it became an "all-run" affair. But it wasn't a weak field, with the racers closely bunched between low qualifier Madison Gordon leading the way with a 5.433 - 268.76, and at the bottom. Ray Martin with a competitive 5.564 - 259.21 pass. It obviously didn't very long for the third generation Gordon drive, following in the footsteps of father Doug and grandfather Mike, to show that the "BETA Cycles" team hadn't lost any performance in the transition.

Annie Whiteley (near lane) vs 
Will Martin (far lane) --- Madison Payne (near lane) vs 
Ray Martin (far lane)

(LEFT) The first pair had veteran Annie Whiteley (near lane), facing relative newcomer Will Martin, in the far lane. There was less than a tenth of a second gap in their qualifying times, with Whiteley holding lane choice, but Martin took a big early lead with a serious .067 to .148 holeshot. If Martin had been able to match his qualifying e.t. (5.552), it would have been a near photo finish, but he slowed slightly to a 5.604 - 262.49, while Whiteley lit up the scoreboard with a stronger 5.466 - 265.53 winning time.

(RIGHT) In the next match, the #1 and #6 qualifiers met, and it was all over on the starting line, as Ray Martin (far lane) redlighted away a decent 5.734 - 247.93 effort, making Madison Gordon's (near lane) much better 5.496 - 267.80 the winning numbers. With the win, Gordon earned the bye run in the semifinal and an almost automatic final round berth in her debut performance.

Brian Hough (near lane) vs 
Hunter Jones (far lane)

The first round of eliminations closed with Brian Hough (near lane), the #3 qualifier, improving on his very good 5.491 qualifying pass, recording a 5.481 - 264.96 to take a very close win over young Hunter Jones (far lane). Jones launched first by .001 second, then made his best run of the weekend, stopping the clocks with a 5.513 - 262.64 in a less than car length loss against the perennial national contender.

Top Alcohol Dragster - Round TWO eliminations

Taylor Vetter (near lane) vs 
Johnny Ahten (far lane) --- Joey Severance (near lane) vs 
Shawn Cowie (far lane)

(LEFT) Coming into the round with lane choice, Taylor Vetter (near lane) left the starting line a few hundredths in front of the A/FD of Johnny Ahten, (far lane) and held the lead over the cylinder dropping fueler, before she lost traction and slowed to a losing 5.998 - 184.17 time. Ahten struggled but took the lead before the 1000' mark, and crossed the finish line with a winning 5.562 - 254.09 clocking. It was good enough to advance to the final, but doubtful that it would be good enough for lane choice.

(RIGHT) The other blown alky cars met for what must be the umpteenth time over the nearly two decades that they have battled for supremacy on the west coast. As can clearly be seen in the photo, Joey Severance (near lane) got off the line by a solid margin, .022 to .095, before shaking the tires hard from the 60' mark until he shut off to a 7.751 - 108.59. Taking full advantage of his plight was Shawn Cowie (far lane), who blasted out another 5.2 pass, with a 5.270 - 276.58 lighting up the scoreboard. The e.t. was more than good enough to take lane choice over Johnny Ahten in the final round.

Top Alcohol Funny Car - Round TWO eliminations

Annie Whiteley (near lane) vs 
Brian Hough (far lane) --- Madison Gordon

(LEFT) Despite holding lane choice, Annie Whiteley (near lane) gave up the advantage with a late launch (.107 to Brian Hough's .036 reaction time). Whiteley tried hard, staying in the 5.40's as she turned a great 5.480 - 267.06. However, Brian Hough (far lane) got to the finish line first with a quicker reaction time and quicker e.t., as his 5.475 - 265.85 turned on the win light.

(RIGHT) With a free pass to the final, it was test time for the Gordon gang, and young Maddi made the best of it, nearly matching her qualifying e.t. and setting a new top speed of the meet with a 5.434 - 269.56 timeslip. That earned her lane choice over Brian Hough for the final round.

Top Alcohol Dragster - Final Round

Shawn Cowie --- Shawn Cowie (near lane) vs 
Johnny Ahten (far lane)

(LEFT) Laying down another of his patented "High C" burnouts, Shawn Cowie prepped for the final after running roughshod through the field throughout qualifying and in the first two rounds of eliminations. He set low e.t. of the meet in qualifying at 5.181 - 279.96 and stayed in the low 5.20's during eliminations.

(RIGHT) Facing Cowie was the darkhorse entry of Johnny Ahten (far lane), who squeezed into the field in the final qualifying session with a solid 5.388 pass.


The odds changed quickly when the lights flashed, as Cowie chattered the tires early, pedalled, got out of shape and took out the finish line timing blocks in a vain attempt to catch the fleeing Ahten. As you can see in the photo, it was a decisive victory for L.A.-based A/Fuel team, taking out last year's #3 car in the category.

Top Alcohol Funny Car - Final Round

Madison Gordon --- Madison Gordon (near lane) vs 
Brian Hough (far lane)

(LEFT) Burning out before the final round in her first race in the Gordon family's BETA Cycles entry, young Madison Gordon was pumped and ready. Besides setting low e.t. and top speed of the meet, she also held lane choice.

(RIGHT) Both cars left together, with Gordon (near lane) leaving first by just .001 second ahead of Brian Hough. But the lead evaporated before the 60' clocks, as Hough took a half car length lead to half track before Gordon closed the gap as they ran side-by-side to the finish line.


The scoreboards show the result, with Hough taking the win light by a margin of just seven thousandths of a second, in a very close finish. Despite the loss, it appears that the Gordon car is as competitive as ever, and young Madison (Maddi) is well on her way to a great career in the alky Funny Car ranks.

The latest update as of February 21, 2024

2024 Mission Foods Drag Racing Series and Lucas Oil Drag Racing Series - OFF and RUNNING!

The first of 45 Lucas series divisional events was completed last weekend at Orlando, and this week sees three more divisional races on the calendar. Those events are being run in conjunction with the first two of 22 regional events, featuring the Top Alcohol categories. Next week sees another combined regional/divisional weekend at Gainesville Raceway, as the "Baby Gators" will be the leadup to the Mission Foods Drag Racing Series national event opener, the Amalie Motor Oil NHRA Gatornationals.

Not to be forgotten amongst all the NHRA events is the Hot Rod Heritage Racing Series kicking off with the 66th annual Good Vibrations March Meet at Famoso Dragstrip. Northern Thunder will be there with Dale Fackler grabbing all the action for this website. Much, much more news on all these events will be forthcoming very shortly. Stay tuned!

The latest update as of January 27, 2024

Good Vibrations March Meet logo

2024 Good Vibrations March Meet

It's less than five weeks until one of the most iconic drag races on the planet fires up again at Famoso Dragstrip (McFarland, CA). The 66th annual version of the race, with continued support from Good Vibrations Motosports, will kick off the NHRA Heritage Racing Series for 2024. Racers are expected from all over North America and parts beyond. As always there will be some Canadian content with my (almost) neighbours in Saanich, the Island Nitro gang, with Phil Ruskowski driving, entered in Top Fuel.

Island Nitro team at Bakersfield

Following a tour-de-force of running the full Heritage Series schedule in 2023, spending heaps of money, burning lots of fuel and unfortunately, lots of parts, the Island Nitro team will be at the March Meet as they plan to stay in the Top Ten after finishing in the #6 position last year. With just four races on the schedule this year, two at Famoso, one at Firebird Raceway (Eagle, ID) and one at Bowling Green (KY), the travel budget won't be as onerous, which might leave some extra money for the parts expenditures.

We've got to close today's update at this point as the webmaster is on the (slightly) disabled list with a badly bruised and strained right arm due to a very hard landing on an iced-over BBQ deck two weeks ago. It's going to be a while yet before we can sit here at the keyboard for any length of time.

To see previous updates, go to the What's Old page

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